As the students of the Class of 2023 prepare to graduate, many are packing up the lives they have built here and are getting ready to enter a new stage. Graduates will be tasked with taking photos off their walls, packing up clothes into suitcases and… transferring all of their Google Drive documents to personal accounts?
In what may come as a surprise to many, all students will be locked out of their Kenyon Google accounts 120 days after graduation, according to a May 2022 policy publication deep in Kenyon’s website. This means that all Google Drive content and emails linked to those accounts will be inaccessible to students come September. Graduates must therefore spend their summer rooting around the last four years of their digital lives and making sure that they don’t lose anything of value before that deadline.
The College is not totally in the wrong for deleting these accounts. It does make sense for economic and security reasons that, at some point, graduates must lose their access to Kenyon-affiliated emails and free data storage. It would be financially wasteful for the College to store alumni data in perpetuity, especially as the College expands enrollment.
Our concern is Kenyon’s lack of communication with students regarding this recent change to policy. The policy was publicized the day after graduation for the Class of 2022, giving last year’s seniors only four months to prepare to lose access to their accounts. Current Kenyon students have still not seen any announcement of this policy, leaving many unaware and unprepared. If we at the Collegian had been informed sooner about our Google accounts’ expiration dates, we would have made different choices about how we used our emails and how we stored information in Google Drive — both personally and for data pertaining to our organization.
Initially thinking that our Kenyon emails would remain active, as was the policy when we were first years, we provided them as professional contact information and used them to create a variety of external accounts. Since learning about the new policy, we are now in the process of rooting through our digital history to switch over to persistent, personal email addresses.
Many student organizations keep their information in documents owned by students’ accounts, and the future of those documents is now in question. Files owned by accounts belonging to the Class of 2022 have not yet disappeared, but with no timeline from the administration, we as an organization have had to back these files up in anticipation of the looming date on which they may disappear with no warning.
We therefore implore the College to be more communicative about this account expiration annually from the day a student receives their Kenyon email account. There have been no overt communications or reminders of this policy to current students. Many graduates will surely be taken aback when the 120th day finally comes. If the College was more communicative, students could plan ahead on this front — refraining from creating a multiplicity of random accounts with the email and providing it to potential employers who will eventually lose contact with them. Departing the Hill can be a troubling and turbulent time for graduates, but when the College seems to push you and all of your data out as soon as they reasonably can, it becomes much worse.
Reid, Alex, Amelia and Salvatore
This staff editorial was written by Editors-in-Chief Amelia Carnell ’23 and Salvatore Macchione ’23, Executive Director Reid Stautberg ’23 and Chief Copy Editor Alex Felleson ’23. You can contact them at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, respectively.