EDITORIAL: How we know Bev

Editorial Board

Every student newsroom has a contentious relationship with its university’s administration. For us, it’s no different.

At the Kent Stater, our current staff has only known Beverly Warren as president. We hear rumblings of greater contention with Lester Lefton — Bev’s predecessor — and student media. None of us can speak to that relationship, but we know our experiences with her.

This university, rightly, knows Bev as the energetic force behind the school. She’s the personality incoming students get to know best, and that’s healthy for this school. We, however, have gotten to know her in a different context than the chief ambassador for the university.

Cameron Hoover, our managing editor, remembers early in his student media career, as he said, when he was “just a lowly sports reporter.” He took a trip with four other reporters to Clemson University in South Carolina for the 2017 football game between the Tigers and Flashes.

He’d never met Bev before, but when he introduced himself to her on the field she already knew him by name, and greeted him with enthusiasm, even giving him one of her patented hugs.

Bev took the time to know who would be there, and made the effort to give him a warm welcome. She still does the same every time she sees him.

As student journalists, we have always been on equal footing with Bev. Every time we walked out of an interview with the president, we knew where we stood. There wasn’t, and still isn’t, any bullshitting with her.

The enterprise editor, Laina Yost, often had to ask hard or uncomfortable questions in student media interviews. Bev never shut her down. She never told her what we could and could not cover. We have been allowed to be independent from the university and cover Bev’s administration freely.

Our features editor, Valerie Royzman, traveled to Chautauqua, New York, this summer to continue her internship with the Wick Poetry Center, which had a poetry makerspace at Chautauqua Institution, and to cover Bev’s speech about the events of May 4, 1970. She had just finished her spring semester as one of the administration beat reporters, when she met with Bev many times for interviews.

Prior to her speech, Bev paid a visit to the makerspace for a taste of poetry, where she mingled with Kent State alumni and, in typical Bev fashion, gave out warm hugs. Just as someone was about to snap a photo of Bev posing with Wick’s employees and students, Bev paused. She motioned for one more person to complete the photo — it was Valerie.

During her speech later, Bev gave the Kent Stater a shoutout and praised the university’s young journalists for “speaking their truth.”

It was clear that afternoon Bev was an appreciator of words, of stories, of what we work so hard to do here at the Stater.

It is our hope that the next president will value words, value free speech and the First Amendment as Bev did. As we look forward, it is our hope that the new administration will respect student journalism and the work we do as Bev did.

Members of the editorial board:

Addie Gall, design director

Cameron Hoover, managing editor

Brandon Bounds, TV2 enterprise producer 

Laina Yost, enterprise editor

Melanie Nesteruk, director of photography 

Valerie Royzman, features editor 

Nicholas Hunter, opinion editor