Alumni Respond to Sendoff Changes

(via Mike Coltman ’87)

Last week, The Thrill asked Kenyon students and alumni to send us their reactions to the recent changes to Sendoff (amongst other things). We have since then compiled several of the alumni responses to share them with the Kenyon community to further develop the discussion surrounding the administration-student body relationship on campus.

This shit is actually so fucked.

Y’all should make a playpen between Old K and Bushnell/the other one in protest. Or NCA quad. Don’t take this shit lying down. This is a disgrace to Kenyon.
And, on a more serious note, I’ve stopped donating as an alum. I didn’t really donate before, but I have stopped now.
– Class of 2014 member
1. The purchasing of alcohol will not make this event safer.  This will only fuel the desire and ultimately dangerous practice of secretly drinking by underclassmen, not to mention the cost of having to actually purchase alcohol.  This is how people get hurt (every school in America knows this).  The more policing of this, the worse the conditions become.  Let the children play.
2. Summer Send-off is a DAY event.  I actively participated in four of them (2004-2008) and can tell you that after the sun goes down, the day is pretty much over (except for the concert, which depending on the act, can be a very fun extension of the day or just plain boring enough to skip).
3.  The fun of the whole event is having the south quad be filled with activity and jubilation during the day.  Ransom Lawn, as wonderful and as memorable as it is, is NOT the place of Summer Sendoff.  The South Quad is a comforting and central location for the student body to gather and organize.  Available beds, bathrooms and the comfort of the surroundings make the event much more convenient. I would also think this would make it easier to police, since you don’t have kids running from Ransom to bathrooms in Olin, Storer, and the science quad.
(I sat in the windowsill of my first floor Hana room for hours during my Sophomore year.  It was pretty fantastic.)
4. Kenyon contains a smart enough body of students that they know what works and what doesn’t.  They understand how to police their own, not out of discrimination or penalty, but for the sake of safety.
5. Food trucks are cool.  Nice work on that.
– Class of 2008 member
You wanted alumnae feedback, and here it is: this is chickenshit and the last straw in Kenyon’s omnipresent war on fun. First, Phling, second, the Cove, and now this. Absolute joke. Those aforementioned three items were pillars of Kenyon social life for generations. This school has officially descended into social purgatory.
– Class of 2013 member
I experienced the last true Summer Sendoff my freshman year in 2010, without the so-called “playpen.” We all knew that that change, along with moving the event from Saturday to Friday, would ultimately lead to the type of fundamental changes we’re seeing this year, which have finally chipped away at the remaining traditions and have thoroughly destroyed the event. Sendoff used to be the one day where all of campus, those who drank and those didn’t, would come together on South Quad for a community celebration. That will not take place anymore, especially with the date being moved just one week before finals.
It’s another sign that this administration is willing to sacrifice tradition for the sake of safety and limited liability. I would caution President Decatur that these types of changes have consequences, and the students who used to come to Kenyon will choose to go elsewhere. It will also cause alumni to become detached from the campus they used to call home.
I believe this decision should be put before the student body, not just the Student Council, which I in my opinion does not truly represent the community. Many members win uncontested elections, and the actions taken by the Council often go unnoticed by students. How to get students more engaged in their legislative body is a debate for a different time, but for such a sweeping decision that will impact the fabric of our college, I think more voices need to be heard.
– Class of 2013 member

3 responses

  1. Yeah! This is worse than declining financial aid! How can Kenyon be a finishing school for the bourgeoisie without school sanctioned day drinking???

    • Oh, come one! Just because we care about our right to celebrate as a community doesn’t mean that we don’t care about more serious issues, ie. the declining financial aid, lack of socioeconomic diversity, the issues surrounding treatment of the LGBTQ+ community, etc.
      This issue is so important because it reveals problems with lack of transparency and major lack of communication between the administration and student body. If we can begin to solve those problems, we can begin to tackle the bigger issues too.

  2. Hello friends. My name is Robert Arthur Angell IV ’13, and my senior year my best friends and I invented Wiffle-Beer, the greatest game ever played, because the restrictions of Sendoff were bumming us out. We played it a few times on the NCA quad because unless the Administration has gone full Big Brother, 21+-year-olds can legally drink outside there. If there are any current students who would like to see our official rules, please send me a message on Facebook (that’s why I included my name as is up there) and I will be happy to pass this on. Anything to make your Sendoff suck less!

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