The details are complicated. But the fact is that student frustrations were mounting in the mid-1970s, in part because a number of popular professors left Kenyon, having failed to win contract renewals or tenure. Alumni mention two names in particular: John Agresto and William Shapiro, both members of the political science faculty.

All the discontent and distrust exploded in March 1978, after a committee conducted a "special evaluation" of Shapiro but refused to change his position from "visiting" to "tenure-track," thus forcing him to depart.

Red and green banners went up around campus, urging "Re-evaluate." Students marched in protest, wearing black arm bands. The clamor grew to the point where the College agreed to hold an unprecedented informational meeting. Several hundred students crowded into Lower Dempsey, to hear remarks from President Philip H. Jordan Jr., Provost Bruce Haywood, and several professors.

Arguing that larger questions of communication and trust were at stake, Student Council then called for the cancellation of classes so that an all-campus assembly could be held, the first time such a step would have been taken since the May 1970 Kent State shootings. The Faculty Council rejected the idea, at which point Student Council voted to reprimand Faculty Council.

Letters of protest filled the pages of the Collegian. One pointed to "a malaise ... seeping into every part of the college." Another said the administration was making "a mockery of Kenyon College and the liberal arts."

More than four hundred students signed a letter appealing for a reversal of the decision. Another letter, bearing 425 signatures, asserted: "Since it is our contention that the college has diverged from its professed principles, we consider ourselves relieved, as future alumni, from obligations ... financial or otherwise."

There were dissenters. Some students accused the "red-green group" of mudslinging, harassment, and slander.

And there was some levity. Collegian artist Bill Watterson '80 (of future Calvin and Hobbes fame) drew a cartoon depicting students as manic toddlers cavorting around Shapiro, whom they had dressed in Mickey Mouse ears, flippers, and roller skates. "Relax, Mr. Shapiro!" they shouted. "In order to plead your case, we have to attract some attention to it, don't we?"

Summer came. Shapiro left. (He ended up at Oxford College, part of Emory University. Agresto would ultimately become the president of Saint John's College in Santa Fe, New Mexico.) And students moved on to other causes. But "re-evaluate," such a drab bureaucratic word, had become a Kenyon war cry. DeliciousFacebook FacebookStumbleUpon StumbleUponDigg Diggreddit reddit