Kenyon Observer April 25, 2012
State of the College Kenyonâ€™s Endowment|page 6 A Better Drug Testing Policy|page 8 Meet the Greeks|page 10 Absence Policy Sends a Bad Message|page 12 The Potential of a Group Lottery Option|page 14
Kenyonâ€™s Oldest Undergraduate Political and Cultural Magazine
Kenyon Observer April 25, 2012
The Kenyon Observer April 25, 2012 Editors-in-Chief Jonathan Green and Gabriel Rom
From the Editors
Kenyon’s Endowment History, Struggle and Progress jacob fass
A Better Drug Testing Policy Welcoming an End to Off-Season Testing of Athletes alexander variano
Meet the Greeks Interviews with Dan Sproull ’14 and Luke Ivey ’12 jon green
Absence Policy Neglects EmploymentSeeking Students sarah kahwash
The Potential of a Group Lottery Option
Cover Art Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Managing Editor Sarah Kahwash Digital Editor Alexander Variano Featured Contributors Tommy Brown, Jacob Fass, Sarah Kahwash, Alexander Variano Contributors Ryan Baker, Matt Hershey, James Neimeister, Richard Pera, Megan Shaw, Jacob Smith,Yoni Wilkenfield, Tess Waggoner Layout/Design Wilfred Ahrens Illustrator Nick Nazmi Faculty Advisor Pamela K. Jensen The Kenyon Observer is a student-run publication that is distributed biweekly on the campus of Kenyon College. The opinions expressed within this publication belong only to the writers and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Observer staff or that of Kenyon College. The Kenyon Observer will accept submissions and lettersto-the-editor, but reserves the right to edit for length and clarity. All submissions must be received at least a week prior to publication. Submit to the Observer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quotes Compiled by Ryan Baker
FROM THE EDITORS
Dear Prospective Reader, In our final print issue of the Spring 2012 semester, the Kenyon Observer turns its full attention to our campus. As Kenyon students prepare to be sent off and cast away for the summer, we examine our institution’s policies in an analysis of what works well and what should be improved in the future. In the following pages, Tommy Brown provides insight into the history and current state of Kenyon’s endowment, Jon Green takes issue with the administration’s interpretation of its excused absences policy, Sarah Kahwash proposes a change to the housing lottery and Jacob Fass applauds Kenyon’s recent tweaking of the student-athlete drug testing procedure. We also include Alexander Variano’s examination of Kenyon’s Greek life, featuring interviews with Luke Ivey ’12, former President of Beta Theta Pi, and Dan Sproull ’14, a recently initiated member of Phi Kappa Sigma. As is frequently expressed by our writers, Kenyon is an institution that is at once incredibly successful and in need of adjustment. We hope to start a vibrant conversation about Kenyon’s policies and look forward to seeing it continued amongst the student body at large. As always, we invite letters and full-length submissions, either in response to content in this issue or on other topics of interest. We would like to thank our readers for their engagement with the Observer over the course of this year. We look forward to continuing the spirit of debate and discourse on Kenyon’s campus next year.
Your Editors, Gabriel Rom and Jonathan Green Editors-in-Chief, The Kenyon Observer
“A university is what a college becomes when the faculty loses interest in the students. ” John Ciardi
Kenyon’s Endowment HISTORY, STRUGGLE AND PROGRESS
A college’s endowment is its lifeblood. From paying Fund by alumni. Any financial aid offered to students faculty salaries to offering financial aid, from maintain- also comes from these two funds, as do expenditures ing good housing on campus to funding various pro- ranging from upkeep of buildings and grounds to salgrams around campus, the ary increases for faculty and endowment’s impact can be staff. enyon s endowment is not felt everywhere on campus. It At first glance, Kenyon is therefore incredibly impor- quite on the level of seems to be struggling when ow tant for students and alumni compared to similar instituilliams or berlin s tions. Kenyon’s perennial alike to understand where doin s Kenyon’s endowment stands but it is getting there rival Denison, for instance, today, how it has progressed has an endowment of almost and what the administration large endowment is an ideal $530 million compared to plans for its future. Kenyon’s endowment of altowards which the ollege is most $180 million. In other What is the endowment, exactly, and what is it used striving especially consider words, Denison is able to for? Take Kenyon’s roughly spend about two and a half year lag behind times more per student than $105 million operating bud- ing our get and divide it by its enroll- competing schools Kenyon can. Grinnell’s enment of about 1600 students, dowment is better yet, purand what’s left is a figure just portedly exceeding $1.4 bilover $65,500. The difference between this number and lion. Looking at the raw numbers, it seems as if Kenyon the cost of full tuition is covered by the interest earned is being left in the dust. Such a shallow examination, by the endowment and yearly donations to the Kenyon however, does not take into account the history of the
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“Giving is the highest expression of our power. ” Vivian Greene
College’s endowment, which helps account for this difference, nor does it consider the great progress the College has made over the years. As Vice President for Finance of the College Joe Nelson told the Observer, there are essentially four reasons for the size of the endowment: the size of our alumni base, the dynamics of how endowments make their institution money, time and simple math. Nelson points out that Kenyon remained a male-only school until 1969 and was much smaller than many of our competitors. It therefore had a restricted alumni base from which it could solicit donations for the endowment. Kenyon’s early history of graduating mostly ministers and academics also played a role; though undoubtedly honorable professions, positions in the clergy and academia do not generate as much disposable income for donations as more lucrative professions. Secondly, many other institutions have depended on large seed money for their endowment or gotten lucky early in their endowment’s growth. Grinnell serves as a good example of this: one of its initial investments was in the corporation that eventually became Intel, now a Fortune 500 company, and was aided by investment advice from famously successful investor Warren Buffett. Time and math also play a big factor in how much interest an endowment is able to earn: the more money an endowment has, the more money it earns on compounded interest, and the longer an endowment has been established, the more money is made beyond the principle investment. All four of these factors contribute to the state of Kenyon’s endowment, but one would think they matter little when we compete with other colleges to attract the best and brightest students. Our faculty, location and student body all play significantly larger roles in prospective students’ decisions to come here, or anywhere for that matter. Another crucial factor in these decisions, however, is how much financial aid Kenyon is able to provide; the Kenyon Fund, the annual alumni donation fund and the endowment all directly impact the College’s ability to offer attractive aid packages. Compared to its peer institutions, Kenyon is not as able to give financial aid to students in need, thus restricting the number of students who are able to attend the College. Nevertheless, Kenyon’s endowment has made significant improvements, particularly through the fundraising efforts of President Nugent. Though the institution
certainly got a late start in growing its endowment, we have seen consistent success in the past decade. Because of the size of the endowment, Kenyon depends more on annual giving through the Kenyon Fund to make up the difference between the operating budget and tuition. While this puts more stress on alumni in making annual donations, it also comes with unforeseen benefits. As Nelson pointed out, there were few places to hide during the financial crisis of 2008-2009, and many schools saw their endowments take a large hit. Through intelligent investments by the Investment Committee of the Board of Trustees, our endowment fared better than those of our peer institutions. According to Myles Alderman, Jr., the chair-elect of the Kenyon Fund, we were also aided greatly by the strength and loyalty of our alumni and the strength of their annual giving to the Kenyon Fund. Despite a small endowment, these impressive regular donations, which according to Kenyon Fund chair Ben Gray totaled $5 million last year, have helped buoy Kenyon’s finances. Our peer institutions, which enjoy larger endowments and rely less on annual giving, found themselves forced to cut programs. Meanwhile, Kenyon’s loyal alumni giving program granted us more flexibility during uncertain economic times because we were not as dependent on our endowment and not as beholden to fluctuations in financial markets. Kenyon’s endowment is not quite on the level of Bowdoin’s, Williams’ or Oberlin’s, but it is getting there. A large endowment is an ideal towards which the College is striving, especially considering our 150-year lag behind competing schools. An article published in 2006 in Business Officer, the magazine of the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), applauded our endowment’s consistent growth over the past decade and even placed it in the top decile of performers over the past 10 years. While there certainly remains room for improvement, through the leadership of President Nugent, the loyalty of alumni giving to the Kenyon Fund and a continually growing alumni base, the endowment is on track to compete with our peer institutions. As we all approach the post-graduation real world, it’s important to think of how we’re going to give back to this place that we love. With the help of current and future alumni, the endowment will be yet another of Kenyon’s outstanding features. TKO
“Sheer ability, spelled i-n-h-e-r-i-t-a-n-c-e. ” Malcom Forbes
A Better Drug Testing Policy WELCOMING AN END TO OFF-SEASON TESTING OF ATHLETES
When Kenyon coaches bring potential athletic recruits or out of season. But last fall, under the direction of the to campus, they tell them about the features that distin- DIII Presidents Council, Kenyon decided to end its yearguish the school from its competitors. Students hear round drug testing for the following year. While reactions about our magnificent athto this measure have decidedly letic facilities, our tight-knit been mixed and many coaches e should not have a drug sense of community and our have expressed fear that this culture that allows athletes testing program that is inva policy will lead to a more perto balance the demands of missive attitude toward drug sports and academics. What sive and humiliating to our use, the policy revision is they probably do not hear clearly an improvement with student athletes such a policy respect to privacy and efficacy. about is Kenyon’s unusually strict drug testing policy. The NCAA began its drughas negligible benefits for the Despite the fact that the testing program in 1986 at National Collegiate Athletic welfare of students championship tournaments, Association does not require and expanded it into a yearthat colleges finance their round program for DI and own drug testing programs, Kenyon is part of the 21 DII athletes in 1990. The objective of the policy was to percent of Division III athletic programs that do. While promote the health and safety of student athletes, as well Division I and II schools must conduct random drug as ensure a competitive playing field free from the intests throughout the year, DIII testing is only mandated fluences of steroids and other performance-enhancing at championship games. Even among the 21 percent of or mind-altering drugs. Failing an NCAA-administered DIII schools that do test for drugs, Kenyon has been drug test can have serious consequences, including loss unusually stringent. Our current policy calls for the year- of eligibility or permanent expulsion from the team. But round testing of athletes, including those who are injured the NCAA does not mandate any specific penalties for
“Drugs have taught an entire generation of American kids the metric system. ” P.J. O’Rourke
school-run drug testing programs; it requires only that schools set and enforce their own consequences for a failed test; Syracuse, for instance, was recently sanctioned for not following the terms of its own drug testing program. The Supreme Court held in Veronia School District v. Acton that high schools can require drug tests as a precondition for participation in athletics even if the athlete is not suspected of any wrongdoing. The majority opinion, as written by Justice Scalia, held that while these drug tests constituted a “search” under the purview of the Fourth Amendment, students and student athletes in particular had reduced expectations of privacy. The school district, Scalia reasoned, had a vested interest in reducing drug use among its athletes, and that this interest justified the school’s use of intrusive measures to achieve this goal. While this may seem reasonable, especially for DI in which students receive expensive scholarships to play sports, it is worth considering the arguments of Justice O’Connor, who dissented in the case. O’Connor noted that the court had previously objected to sweeping blanket searches, in which a person’s privacy could be revoked without probable cause. The searches, during which a monitor may supervise an athlete even while he or she urinates, as well as give the school information about his or her personal habits, are clearly an invasion of privacy. If we are willing to tolerate this intrusion, we must be certain that this is a necessary and effective way to discourage drug use. Unfortunately, we have not achieved that level of certainty, as recent studies have suggested
that testing is an ineffective deterrent to illicit drug use. A two-year survey conducted by the Oregon Health and Science University, for example, concluded that random drug testing did not reduce the rate of athletes who used drugs in the 30 days before their tests. Moreover, drug use among student athletes is much less prevalent than it is among the general population. This is likely due to the commitments and pressures of athletics, which leave little spare time for drug abuse. In addition, Robert Taylor of the Cato Institute found that when intrusive drug tests raise the costs of participating in sports, a marginal athlete is more likely to leave the athletic program and abuse drugs more than he or she would have otherwise. An ideal drug policy is one that best achieves the NCAA’s goal of ensuring the health and safety of all student athletes. While tests for steroid use and other performance enhancers may be necessary to ensure a fair competition, the DIII Presidents Council’s decision made clear that this was not a major issue for DIII athletes. Unlike street drugs or performance boosters, alcohol abuse is the biggest threat to the health of student athletes and is almost impossible to test. We should not have a drug-testing program that is invasive and humiliating to our student athletes; such a policy has negligible benefits for the welfare of students. Kenyon should move away from random drug testing toward a policy that instead focuses on education and communication between the student body and the athletic department. Our decision to stop year-round drug testing is a step in the right direction. TKO
Nite Bites Café Now Accepting K-Cards Peirce Pub Monday and Wednesday (10 p.m. - 1 a.m.)
Tuesday and Thursday (11 p.m. - 1 a.m.)
“I want him to have all the urine he needs.” Dwight Schrute
Meet the Greeks A rookie and a veteran of Kenyon’s Greek community sit down with Alexander Variano to discuss the role of fraternities on campus.
TKO: What differentiates Phi Kaps from other fraternities? DS: The Phi Kaps don’t really fit any common stigma. Each member is unique, and they all lead different lives from one another; the brothers may not be united in their hobbies and schedules, but they all believe in the common virtues of our fraternity.
Dan Sproull ’14 Junior Active Member, Phi Kappa Sigma Economics major from Westfield, NJ TKO: What made you decide to go Greek in the first place? Why did you pledge Phi Kappa Sigma? DS: My friends and I decided to go Greek because we wanted to undergo something that we’ll never get to experience again—something that’s unique to college life. We pledged Phi Kap because we felt we could have an immediate and large impact on the group. The brothers were all very welcoming and accepting of our different personalities. TKO: How are Phi Kaps commonly perceived on campus? Are you planning to change your public image? DS: Everybody knows the Phi Kaps, but we are trying to make the fraternity bigger and make an even bigger impact than we do now through our service to the community and the student body.
TKO: Do you think the pledging process involves abusive practices? What values does pledging impart on members? DS: Pledging did not involve any abusive practices whatsoever. It was a process that allowed me to get to know my brothers better, as well as the history of the fraternity. The pledging process instills values of responsibility and respect in new members. TKO: What advice would you give to someone considering pledging? Why should he choose Phi Kaps? DS: Pledging requires an open mind. People gain respect by being able to associate with every type of person, even if it differs. The main advice I’d give is to be open and receptive, because the benefits you enjoy over the long-run are worth the short-term commitments. Pledging Phi Kaps is an opportunity to make a direct, lasting impact on this chapter. We’re a small group and we have fun, both of which translate to a rewarding experience.
“I’d rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not.” Kurt Cobain
Luke Ivey ’12 Former President, Beta Theta Pi Political Science major from Marquette, Michigan TKO: As you prepare to leave Kenyon, how do you look back on your Greek experience here? LI: It was definitely constructive. Having to take on an officer position gave me responsibilities beyond simply going to class and football practice every day. That said, it was somewhat stressful because of some financial and membership issues that put us on probation with our national organization. That was difficult, but it built a lot of character for the chapter and forced me to really step up and do a better job as the face of the organization. TKO: How do you think the rest of the student body views Beta Theta Pi? LI: I think about the old Collegiate headline, “Fat Kid Probably a Beta,” which was based on the idea that a fat kid must be a football player and therefore a Beta. There’s a misconception of us as a National Treasure-style secret society, as notoriously insular, not outgoing, misogynistic—for lack of a better term, “bro-ey”—but that’s not a fair description. Being known as the football fraternity has alienated a lot of other prospective members, so we’ve made a concerted effort over the last two years to recruit guys who we considered a good fit, but might not have considered us because they thought Beta was a football thing. TKO: What distinguishes Beta Theta Pi from other Kenyon fraternities? LI: I think if you asked any Beta if he could imagine being in another fraternity, his answer would be a resounding no. The type of guy who chooses to be a Beta here is really committed to his fellow members. That’s not a comment on other fraternities here; it’s just how I truly feel. On the whole, we’re probably more conservative—politically and socially—than other fraternities on campus, though Greek organizations are definitely more conservative than the student body overall. But I think we don’t take ourselves as seriously as other people might think.
TKO: How would you define hazing and how does it fit into the pledging process? LI: I’d like to try and answer this from the perspective of the larger Greek community, not just Beta Theta Pi. There seems to be this huge misconception that fraternities at Kenyon are involved in dangerous and stupid activities that put their pledges at risk because the majority of the pledging process is somewhat secretive.That speaks to a larger cultural issue at Kenyon of wanting to be extremely inclusive, but Greek organizations are by nature exclusive: you have to pledge to join. Pledging does not have to include hazing, and what goes on behind closed doors usually does not match people’s conception of what is happening. Hazing is also usually defined by people who are not actually Greek members involved with the pledging process. Most people are aware that it’s never a problem to walk away from pledging, and that being independent does not make you a social exile—especially at this school. TKO: How does that impact the College’s impression of Greeks overall? LI: The whole conversation about exclusivity, hazing and whether Greeks should have a place on this campus has led more Greek members to wear their letters. They’re proud of the choice they made. There are fewer Old Kenyon parties, not just because of changes in the party policy or Greek life rules, but because Greek organizations have realized that they’ve made this a wet campus for years, and what have they gotten in return? The scorn and disdain of independent students who have no problem criticizing us in the Collegian, over all-student emails or during class, but then have a great time at our parties. TKO: What would the school lose if Greeks left campus? How will this play out in the future? LI: Ever since we were labeled a “New Ivy” a few years ago, the administration has been trying to bring high school kids here who are also looking at Brown, Cornell and similar bastions of higher education. That’s not the kind of place Kenyon was for a long time; I don’t want to say we were an all-boys club, but we were a weird mix of East Coast sensibility, some Midwestern influence and this low-fi indie hipster vibe. New students today are more keyed in to the academic experience than the social and athletic components. I can’t tell you how many times the football coach has brought a prospective recruit to campus who said they don’t fit in here at all and felt more comfortable somewhere like Denison or Wooster. If we didn’t have students who were attracted by good athletics or strong Greek life, we would become a really homogenous group. We’d lose the charm that brought me here, as well as other students like me. We wouldn’t be Kenyon anymore. TKO
These interviews have been edited for length and clarity.
Absence Policy Neglects Employment-Seeking Students
A recent email survey of Kenyon’s Class of 2012 found that 56 percent did not know what they would be doing next year, 28 percent knew that they would be working and 15 percent said that they would be in graduate school. On a seemingly unrelated note, approximately one third of Kenyon students are varsity athletes. But the two are connected in at least one respect: while the varsity athletes are allowed to gain exemption from classes so they can compete, students who have job interviews or graduate school visits which overlap with classes are not guaranteed excused absences. Kenyon’s official policy for excused absences, according to the college website, is ambiguous: “Excuses for absences from class are granted … when substantial reason is shown. Recognized grounds for excused absences are as follows: (1) curricular or extracurricular activities recommended by the faculty and approved by the deans, (2) personal obligations claimed by the students and recognized as valid by the deans and (3) sickness.” Despite the ambiguity, surely a job interview or graduate school visit is a “substantial reason”
that should be “recognized as valid by the deans,” right? Not according to the college administration. One student, who wished to remain anonymous, requested an excused absence for such a visit and was informed that Kenyon does not generally consider graduate school visits or job interviews valid reasons for excused absences, though varsity athletics are. The rationale behind the administration’s distinction was that negotiating absences for job interviews is akin to preparation for the real world, in which employees must negotiate absences with their employers, whereas varsity sports teams’ schedules are set ahead of time and pre-approved by faculty and administration. The student was then told to refer to the above policy for further clarification. Aside from the fact that students will not be participating in varsity athletics in the real world, this bureaucratic interpretation of ambiguous policy sets a troubling standard when it comes to Kenyon’s priorities. What message does the administration send when it tells students that it cares more about the basketball team’s ability to drive to Wooster on
“A committee can make a decision that is dumber than any of its members.” David Cobitz
a Tuesday than students’ future employment opportunities? This is not to say that athletes should not be granted excused absences for their games, but the administration should extend excused absences to job interviews and graduate school visits, as well. Contrary to the administration’s assertion, doing so will correspond more closely to the real world—not less. In the real world, high school students are excused for college visits because their respective high schools have vested interests in their students attending college. Kenyon is no different: just as low college acceptance rates reflect poorly on high schools, large numbers of unemployed Kenyon graduates reflect poorly on Kenyon as an institution of higher education. To step further into the administration’s idea of the real world, all employers offer workers unscheduled days off, and many
If the administration allows 56 football players to miss class so they can travel to
surely they can permit a few students to miss class to land a job or pick a graduate school. offer paid leave for training or education that makes workers more productive. If a high school excuses absences for college visits and an employer excuses absences for further training or education, then why should Kenyon not excuse absences for students who need to market themselves outside of Gambier? If the administration allows 56 football players to miss class so they can travel to Wabash or the University of Chicago, surely they can permit a few students to miss class to land a job or choose the right graduate school. The administration is correct when it states that the academic disruption due to athletic events is minimized by games being scheduled far in advance. Since the logistics of job interviews and graduate school visits are not planned months in advance, excusing such absences may not minimize the missed class time. But considering the raw num-
ber of varsity athletes and the amount of class time they are allowed to miss, surely allowing a smaller
a smaller number of
students to miss a class here or there for graduate school visits or job interviews would be less disruptive. number of students to miss a class here or there for graduate school visits or job interviews would be less disruptive overall. One could also argue that it would take an especially cruel professor to deny a student the opportunity to interview for a job or visit a graduate school. But consider a scenario that could unfold under the current policy: Two students, a first year on the baseball team and a senior seeking a job in Indianapolis, both have tests scheduled on a Friday. The baseball team has an away series over the weekend and the bus leaves before his test; the senior has been invited for a job interview that coincides with the test time. The professors of both classes are unwilling to let the students take their exams on different days, but the first-year baseball player is able to appeal to the administration for an excused absence, allowing him to override his professor and take the exam on the following Monday. The senior, on the other hand, is unable to get an excused absence and is thus forced to choose between attending the interview and taking the test. Kenyon graduates are competing in the job market with students who already study in cities and do not necessarily need to miss class time to interview for a job. Kenyon’s failure to support students who have graduate school visits and job interviews only exacerbates the challenges its students face against their competition. The administration should reconsider its interpretation of its attendance policy—allowing excused absences for job interviews and graduate school visits would not disrupt the academic environment any more than varsity athletes already do. Instead, it would more accurately reflect the real world and make Kenyon students more competitive in the job market. TKO
“All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.” George Orwell
The Potential of a Group Lottery Option The housing lottery is a notoriously bitter graphic location operate on a remarkably similar event: its hierarchy of arbitrary lottery numbers system to ours. A comparison between Kenyon often puts students in awkward or vulnerable and a few similar schools—Grinnell, Denison, positions with their peers, and many first years Williams and Hamilton—indicates that our housleave campus in May technically without hous- ing process functions relatively well. These small, ing for the fall semester. remotely located colleges These problems are exhouse their students by enyon students may re acerbated by our growmeans of a lottery; aside ing student population, sent their bad luck in the from a smattering of negour inability to expand ligible differences, nobody too far into Gambier and lottery but the most in seems to have thought of a frequent construction more efficient system. dissatisfied stu projects that create awk- tensely Our housing system is ward fluctuations in the dents are arguably those imperfect, but we lack a housing supply (e.g., the better alternative. In fact, North Campus Apart- who feel betrayed some of our housing poliments opening mid-year, cies demonstrate more the gradual destruction flexibility than is characterof the Bexley Apartments, etc). Needless to say, istic of lotteries elsewhere. Many colleges that use students’ complaints about the way Kenyon allo- a housing lottery, for example, strongly discourage cates housing are warranted. possible transfers from entering, whereas Kenyon But there is a problem with these complaints: often provides housing to students in the process nobody has suggested a reasonable alternative— of making their decision whether to stay or go. not even other schools. First year housing aside, Our system could benefit from at least one schools comparable to Kenyon in size and geo- modification, though: the option of entering the
“Sometimes the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason.” Jerry Seinfeld
lottery as a group and receiving one number.After all, Kenyon students may resent the walk from Mather to Peirce every morning because of bad luck in the lottery, but the students most intensely
Entering the lottery as a group — prior to number assignments — diminishes the politics involved with riding on another student ’s number or pulling a friend up. dissatisfied with the process are arguably those who feel betrayed by their more fortunate friends, guilty about their inability to help less fortunate friends or worst of all, friendless.Entering the lottery as a group—prior to number assignments— diminishes the politics involved with riding on another student’s number, or conversely, pulling a friend up. This policy works well for our peer schools: Denison calls it a “group lottery,” Grinnell offers “group draw,” Hamilton organizes a “blocking lottery” separate from its general lottery and Williams allows groups of up to six members to enter the same lottery. Students at those schools have their fair share of complaints, but altered dynamics within friend groups probably is not one of them. The group housing option stands as a popular feature of several other housing systems, and there must be a legitimate reason for its success. Group housing may seem idealistic, and has the potential to disrupt an already functional system, but it has proven successful elsewhere. Aside from predetermined point and class distinctions concerning themed/division housing and certain apartments like NCAs and Morgans, rooms are currently assigned based on one number only: the best number of any group of students who sign up. Our current system of counting only the highest lottery number in a proposed group seems to be the simplest option, but effective group numbering is not especially complicated, either. Schools that offer a group option either average members’ numbers or simply assign one number to the group as
a whole; the former takes point values and class years into account and the latter evens the playing field entirely, so group housing is flexible enough to be compatible with whatever goal Residential Life has for that venue—whether to factor in GPA and disciplinary history or not, for instance. In addition, ResLife would have options as to how group lottery numbers would fit in to the system; they could construct a separate lottery like Hamilton’s, or assign numbers to individuals and groups in the same lottery, as is the case at Williams. One could argue that leaving our group housing process as it is increases the likelihood that one member of a group will qualify for a desirable apartment, but that probability applies to every other prospective group and individual, too. A group lottery option, therefore, wouldn’t hinder your chances of getting the housing you wanted so much as it would force you to solidify your group
housing you wanted so much as it would force you to so lidify your group prior to the lottery . prior to the lottery. Nobody would have to deal with the uncertainty of being an Acland alternate or the extra third member in a group of Hanna triple hopefuls. It would be presumptuous to claim that the introduction of a group lottery number would completely eliminate any of the politics involved in student housing. Students would still have to form groups, and determining the members would inevitably arouse awkward situations in some cases. But a group lottery would help eliminate those last minute changes that make Kenyon’s housing lottery so tense for so many people, and as shown by several other schools, such an option lacks major pitfalls. Considering these facts, Kenyon should seriously consider implementing a group lottery option. TKO
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Leonardo da Vinci
Internal Policy Memo Discovered THE FOLLOWING DOCUMENT WAS FOUND ON THE POOL TABLE IN THE BASEMENT OF GUND COMMONS NEXT TO A HIGHBALL GLASS OF SCOTCH AND A DVD OF MADEA’S FAMILY REUNION.
Kenyon Administrative Procedures We Kenyon Administrators have simple yet refined tastes: aged cheese wheels, a fine scotch, Tyler Perry and, of course, flowcharts, like the one we use to outline our procedure for handling all events and venues—fun or otherwise. Do we control it?
Is it fun?
Can we buy control of it?
Send out 1,000 student-info emails and have the CAs run it. YES
Cut budget or shape it to our will until it is unrecognizable.
Divert funds from fun activity. Try again.
When students complain, tell them that they should “take more initiative.”
Have Campus Safety perform “random” checks until we’ve broken the will of whoever controls it.
Purchase. Convert to honors housing.
Wait a few years. Convert to faculty housing.