Student workers at Kenyon College went on a daylong strike Thursday over unfair labor practices, the Kenyon Student Worker Organizing Committee (K-SWOC) said in a press release.
The strike began after the college decided to disband the Kenyon Farm residential program, in which four to six students live in a farmhouse and perform agricultural work near campus. In January, the Office of the Provost and the Office of the President informed student farmers that the residential program will be eliminated next semester, The Kenyon Collegian reported. Instead, the farmhouse will be used to support the broader goals and activities of the farm, according to the Kenyon College website.
“This decision has significant impact on the practical ability of farmers to retain hours while working as nonresidents in addition to being a major loss to the community, a community made possible by the residential program,” K-SWOC posted on Twitter.
Kenyon College said in a statement Thursday the move 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 statement said.
The striking student farmers were also joined by student union members of Kenyon’s community advisers and apprentice teachers, as well as workers at the Writing Center, Gund Gallery, Wright Center and more. Sally Smith, a student and organizer with K-SWOC, said more than 200 student workers participated in yesterday’s strike.