Any Kenyon staff member can submit a question to Staff Council and Staff Council will make a reasonable effort to post answers to submitted questions. Questions received during the current academic year will be posted in chronological order. Questions and answers from previous years are available in the sidebar menu to the left.
If you would like an update on the status of a previously asked question, please get in touch and include your name to receive a response.
2020-21 Questions and Answers
Q: In response to adjustments made to Kenyon’s 2020-2021 budget in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impact, and petitions circulated in relation to proposed cuts to retirement benefits, Kenyon Student Council requested that Kenyon Staff Council provide a “proper and formal understanding on ... these cuts[and] how they were handled.”
Kenyon Staff Council responded:
Dear Student Council,
Staff Council met on Tuesday and discussed the benefits reduction. Members present representing all divisions of the College were asked to consider both their own opinions and those of the coworkers they represent.
Regarding the temporary suspension of retirement contributions:
There was consensus among the Staff Council members present that the College acted wisely in implementing retirement benefit cuts. Members are aware that many other colleges and universities are furloughing or laying off staff, and appreciate Kenyon’s desire to maintain all jobs and health insurance benefits as long as possible. This shared sacrifice is preferable to seeing any of our co-workers lose their jobs. Maintaining regular pay for employees who were unable to complete some or all of their work during the remote spring semester were cited by members as evidence of Kenyon’s genuine care for employees.
Some in the Kenyon community have argued that the College could have tapped into “rainy day” funds before resorting to cuts. Staff Council members felt that these funds should be reserved for more catastrophic circumstances, since there is no guarantee that the pandemic’s effects on the College’s budget will last only one year — and, in fact, it is still possible that the College will still need to reduce the budget more severely this year.
Regarding Kenyon’s decision making process:
The majority of members expressed that they trust decisions like this to be made by the College’s Senior Staff and Board of Trustees, as long as there is consultation with appropriate bodies. In this case the Benefits Committee was briefed by Senior Staff members in detail before convening the Board of Trustees. Several members pointed out that, in general, the College should strive to include those most affected by decisions in discussions about those decisions as much as possible, and that this may happen more proactively in the future.
Finally, Kenyon Staff Council greatly appreciates the outpouring of concern by the student body for the welfare of Kenyon employees. All Kenyon employees, both staff and faculty, are committed to keeping students’ education, safety and overall wellbeing as our highest priority, and it is very meaningful to us that Kenyon students have expressed similar concern for our wellbeing.