Section: Opinion

To reduce overcrowding woes, Admissions needs to tell prospectives ‘no’ more often

Kenyon has a problem, and that problem is people. Specifically, too many of them.

Several articles and opinion pieces in the Collegian this semester have already referenced this. One example is “Poor retention and longer lines plague AVI” (Oct. 1, 2015), which suggests that many of the issues students identify with Peirce are related to the student body’s “increasing numbers.” The observation of an AVI employee that concludes the article sums it up well: “The College is taking in all these extra people, and the kids complain about the lines, then the College gets on us to hurry up. … And that’s not right.” This was obvious at Peircegiving. My friend arrived at 4 p.m. and got the last table on New Side. Peirce was packed for one of AVI’s most exciting meals and the lines were long as always, even though there were twice  the number of lines than in the past. Clearly, Kenyon is overcrowded.

These issues in Peirce are just two  among several. Longer lines in the servery are an inconvenience, and AVI unfairly struggles to serve more students. Seating is even more of a problem at peak times or when a dining room or Peirce Pub is closed for a special function.

But beyond this, as has also been covered in the Collegian, there are fewer than 100 empty beds on campus this semester, and, as the sophomores especially know, course registration is becoming increasingly difficult, even for required classes in one’s major. The College must act to deal with overcrowding now before these problems worsen and others arise.

There is a solution that resolves all of these problems without great expense or policy change. Building brand-new housing, increasing seat limits for courses and building another dining hall are not necessary. Overcrowding has been caused by the record-breaking sizes of at least the last two first-year classes.

The underlying problem must be that more students accept their offers of admission than the Office of Admissions expects. Thus, the solution is clear: Admissions needs to reconsider its formula for how many students it admits to curtail the size of future first-year classes. The trend of record-breaking-large classes is simply unsustainable.

Jacob Griffith-Rosenberger ’16 is an anthropology major from Philadelphia, Penn. Contact him at griffithrosenbergerj@kenyon.edu.

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