Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not reflect those of Her Campus Kenyon as a whole. Also, I’m a freshman, so hey, what the hell do I know?
If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve probably noticed a few signs going up on campus bearing the infamous Kenyon thumbs-up, except turned it’s turned into a thumbs-down and paired with the words “Farewell, Old Kenyon.” These are sometimes accompanied by a list of the grievances of the “student body” : in general, the lack of student choice and democracy in happenings on campus.
Fliers that indicate the goals of the “Farewell, Old Kenyon” posters have also been circulating. According to these, there are three objectives: to give administrators a visual representation of “the number of students who feel Kenyon is headed in the wrong direction”, to rally the students around this notion that “something can and should be done” to change Kenyon’s declining direction, and to demand change from the administration with the incentive of erasing this widespread and very public demonstration of discontent.
The point I’d like to focus on in this article is number 2 on this flier, that one of the signs’ goals is “to unify” the student body. I am all for unification. That sounds great. But my problem with this movement is that, as a freshman, I’m not sure what we’re unifying against. What exactly is it I’m supposed to be angry about? The new K-card policy? I wasn’t here to experience the old one, so I don’t really have anything to compare. The use of part of the anonymous gift to build a library? It’s inconvenient, yes, and perhaps there are more important things the money could be spent on, like increasing Kenyon’s diversity, but the administration cannot control what the donor deemed his/her money should go towards. Plus, the administration has said part of the money will be invested in diversity, and, at the end of all this, we are going to have a really bitchin’ new library.
Initially, I figured my opinion was pretty solitary; there was probably something I was missing in all this. Setting out to write this article, however, I spoke to a few of my fellow first-year friends, and across the board their thoughts on the matter either lined up with mine or didn’t exist at all. A few responses I got to the question, “What are your opinions on the ‘Farewell, Old Kenyon’ movement?”:
“I understand it I guess, but I don’t see why I’m supposed to care.”
“I don’t feel like I’ve been here long enough to understand or really know what they’re fighting for.”
“What is that?”
I want to support the movement––I think––but in order to do so, I’m going to need a little help from the upperclassmen. If the goal of the posters is really to unify us, we freshmen need to know what’s going on, not be excluded from the conversation. Especially important if those involved in the movement want it to continue and matter after they’re gone.