SEPTEMBER 25, 2015

With a new school year inevitably comes a wellspring of new conversations and intellectual explorations. Friends and classmates, reunited after several months’ separation, mull over the biggest news and cultural stories from the summer, eagerly share their greatest exploits since the last school year ended, and generally seek good fellowship. Also inevitably, these topics eventually find their way into the pages of the Observer, Kenyon’s premier undergraduate publication for the exchange of ideas. It is our pleasure to bring you this school year’s first issue, where we include some of the topics we have been grappling with in recent months.

Leading off the issue, Jacob Hopkins analyzes the deepening crisis of increasing prices for water utilities, and offers some practical solutions for communities. Julianna Luo critiques the response of the Western media to China’s parade celebrating the end to World War II, and provides the perspective from Chinese news sources which many of us have missed. Nathaniel Epstein interviews Radley Balko, who visited campus on Sep. 8 to give a talk on “The Militarization of America’s Police Forces,” and Mallory Richards offers her own thoughts after attending Balko’s presentation. Alex Pijanowski looks back on traveling through Spain while reading George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia, and reflects on some of the book’s most important lessons.

As always, we invite all members of the Kenyon community and beyond to engage in open and honest, yet thoughtful, dialogue on the topics here enclosed. We will be glad to entertain comments on the pieces in this issue, whether in person or on our website. Furthermore, we welcome letters and full-length submissions, either in response to the content presented here or on other topics of interest.

Molly O’Connor, Alex Pijanowski, and Stewart Pollock


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