Section: Editorial

Staff Editorial: Anonymous attacks harm civil discourse

We at the Collegian are committed to free expression for all Kenyon students. In our years on campus, we have witnessed students respond to several controversial opinions articles not with thoughtful discussion or civil disagreement, but with personal attacks on authors from behind the veil of anonymity provided by platforms like YikYak. The opinions section of the Collegian is intended to give students a platform to voice their concerns about campus life, to encourage dialogue and document student perspectives for future generations of Kenyonites. It is not intended to provide students with ammunition to mock or disparage their fellow students.

Newspapers rarely, if ever, publish anonymous opinions. The Collegian only does so if a compelling argument can be made that publishing an individual’s name would significantly endanger their safety or well-being. We believe that people willing to broadcast their opinion to the Kenyon community should be confident enough to attach their name to it. YikYak, on the other hand, has no such restrictions: Students are free to post whatever they choose (within the app’s community guidelines) with no accountability from their peers.

To write an opinion for the Collegian is to invest time and energy into articulating an argument on paper and working through a time-consuming editing process. Writers willing to do so deserve an environment free from personal attacks, no matter how controversial their views.

While cyberbullying might be a phrase you remember only from middle school, it is the phrase that best describes some of the current dialogue on YikYak. Your invisibility does not make the recipient of your bullying any less real, or any more deserving of your opinion. There is no excuse for cyberbullying, regardless of the number of likes your post might receive. We are hopeful that the Kenyon student body can move away from the camouflage of YikYak and engage in discussions worth more than 200 characters.

Sincerely,

Hannah, Audrey and Katie

This editorial was written by editors-in-chief Katie Sparvero ’25 and Audrey Baker ’25 and managing editor Hannah Sussman ’25. You can contact them at sparvero1@kenyon.edu, baker10@kenyon.edu and sussman3@kenyon.edu, respectively.

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