Campus Work Update: Senate recommendations on student work

President Decatur shares the Campus Senate's report on student work and outlines next steps.


Dear members of the Kenyon College community,

As you may be aware, the Campus Senate undertook a comprehensive review of student work this semester. Following its final meeting of the term, the Campus Senate submitted its findings and recommendations to me for consideration; you can find the full report here (PDF). The Campus Senate’s report provides important findings that will inform how the College proceeds with needed changes to work-study and campus work programs. 

I would like to thank the six students and seven faculty and staff members who serve on Campus Senate for conducting such a thorough and thoughtful review. Likewise, I am grateful to the many members of the Kenyon community who contributed to the process, whether by sharing personal experiences, providing essential expertise, offering a perspective on existing practices, or advocating for a new approach. Through open forums and an online survey, Campus Senate heard from students who hold a range of positions on campus as well as those who hold none; they received input from faculty and staff who supervise student workers and others who administer work-study and student work programs; they reviewed several years of data and engaged the Institutional Research Office to analyze it.

Their report concludes: “we feel there is some urgency in this matter, and that the College, at the highest levels, should develop a strategy and plan with a reasonable but specific timeline to incorporate changes that address these concerns.” 

This is our next step. In January, after our colleagues in the Financial Aid and Career Development Offices have had an opportunity to review the Campus Senate’s findings and recommendations, I will report back with a broad outline of an action plan. Elements of this plan are already taking shape, drawing on the parallel work of the administration and special Board committee over the fall. 

As I have written and said so many times this year, the pandemic has brought into focus the many ways Kenyon supports students. While some student work issues can be attributed to the unprecedented circumstances of 2020, others are more persistent. I am confident that, by continuing to seek input from a diversity of voices — students, faculty and staff — we can ensure that Kenyon students have a rewarding set of learning experiences not just in but beyond the classroom, and the financial support they need to thrive in their education.


Sean Decatur