On March 3, the College was notified that 193 student workers intend to participate in a work stoppage.
Kenyon respects all community members’ rights to peacefully protest for any lawful reason. Consistent with our values, we expect that the community will respect both the rights of students who may be protesting and the rights of students, faculty and staff who wish to continue to work and use College facilities.
The strike follows the College’s decision to discontinue using the farmhouse on the Kenyon Farm as a student residence in order to expand the learning opportunities at the farm and make them available to more students. Starting in the 2022-2023 academic year, the farmhouse will be used to support the broader goals and activities of the farm and will no longer be dedicated to housing four to six students a year.
This is a change in housing only. There will be no reduction in the number of positions available to interested students or in the number of hours students may work. Living on the farm has never been a requirement of working at the farm, nor has it been connected to compensation for any work on the farm.
The director of the Office of Green Initiatives, along with Kenyon’s provost and president, met with several student farmers and interested community members in early February 2022 to discuss the vision for the farm. The College expects to have more conversations when the farm’s next manager is hired.
While some student workers may be engaging in a strike, the College's goal remains to ensure that all students, including striking students, continue to receive an excellent education and enjoy the many resources Kenyon provides its students, without retaliation or discrimination.
The College will continue normal operations without interruption. This includes the care of the farm animals.
This action is the latest organized by the Kenyon Student Worker Organizing Committee (K-SWOC). In the fall of 2020, K-SWOC requested that the College voluntarily recognize a campus-wide union of undergraduate student workers. Following a three-month review, the Board of Trustees unanimously voted to decline that request. Kenyon believes that it can best fulfill its educational mission, preserve its collaborative environment, and meet students' financial needs by working directly with students and their families. In October 2021, the National Labor Relations Board postponed indefinitely a hearing related to an election petition filed on behalf of K-SWOC so that the board may consider important legal issues raised by the petition. The petition seeks an election to determine whether all undergraduate student workers at Kenyon should be represented by the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) for purposes of collective bargaining.