Today, on Thursday February 1st, students, faculty, and members of the Kenyon community gathered in the Bolton theater to participate in a forum regarding the concerning nature of the former spring mainstage The Good Samaritan. Wendy MacLeod ‘81, both a professor of Drama and Playwright-in-Residence, wrote and then released the script to the Kenyon community in hopes of gathering feedback for the spring production. Since Professor Macleod’s student-wide email with the script, the campus has engaged in conversations about the racist and harmful themes throughout the play. We at The Thrill have already published two messages to the campus, from both students and faculty. We encourage you to read them both.
Professor Macleod initially released the script to the campus in order to engage in a dialogue between the community and herself. Over the course of the week, in reaction to rising demand to cancel the spring production, President Decatur released a statement encouraging discourse, protecting the spirit of academic freedom, and offering a slight change in events. Professor Macleod would no longer field questions and comments herself, but instead sit on a panel with relevant members of the campus community. President Decatur named Associate Provost Jeff Bowman as the moderator, and he invited Ivonne Garcia (Associate Provost and founding faculty of the Latin@ studies concentration), Balinda Craig-Quijada (Professor of Dance and chair of the Drama, Dance, and Film department), and Jonathan Tazewell (Professor of Drama) to sit on a panel with Professor Macleod.
However, on January 31st at 5:05 pm, Professor Macleod released a statement to the entire campus community, stating that she would be withdrawing the play and cancel the spring Bolton show. While never explicitly apologizing for the discomfort and harm her script caused for many, she did state she would no longer attend the panel– citing a hope “that the community can get to issues larger than a single play.” Many students (and faculty), including the writing and editing staff at The Thrill, found the lack of accountability both frustrating and disappointing.