Dear members of the Kenyon College community,
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought into focus the many ways Kenyon supports students, including through campus work experiences. The transition to remote learning and new realities on campus presented unique challenges, and we have taken steps over the past six months to minimize disruption and mitigate financial hardship for students studying and working on campus and those doing so at a distance.
While it was clear that some issues were specific to the pandemic, it also was clear that a broader review of campus work was needed. We are conducting a comprehensive review of student work experiences that is proceeding on two tracks. In August, I asked Campus Senate, which includes representatives of students, faculty and staff, to review the state of campus work at Kenyon and to make recommendations for improvement. Campus Senate will consider broad questions such as the overall goals of campus work and specific issues such as the efficacy of job postings and pay tiers. In addition, the Board of Trustees has formed a special committee to examine the varying ways the College provides financial support to students, including work-study and other student work experiences. The Board committee has been meeting regularly to first understand our campus work processes as well as student concerns, and then will focus on mechanisms to address concerns.
It is important that we seek a diverse range of perspectives in our review. To that end, on Oct. 7, Campus Senate will convene a meeting to hear from students from across the College about their experiences with work-study and other campus work. Campus Senate has invited the Board committee to join this listening session, and they intend to attend.
I anticipate this work to take several months as we explore the diverse experiences of our students and hear from all affected — students, faculty, staff and others. Campus Senate expects to deliver its report and recommendations to me by the end of the semester. The Board committee’s goal is to bring its work to the full board later this fall. I know the members of the Board committee are committed to conducting a review of these issues with the care, openness and thoughtfulness they deserve, as am I.
These are issues with long-term ramifications for Kenyon as an institution and for students. I want you to know our discovery and deliberations will be guided by our strong belief that Kenyon is a community where every voice matters.