Fraternities say goodbye to notorious College Street


The future site of the new Kent police station at the end of College Street. Monday, Sept. 12, 2016.

Brittney Prather

For new Kent State students, College Street is just another street. But to alumni and the students who have created both memories and a home there, it has a completely different significance.

There is a nostalgia that exists between Greek life and College Street. Pi Kappa Alpha (PIKE), Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) and Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) are among the fraternities that continue to maintain residency on the notorious road.

According to previous KentWired articles, the Kent State police station, built in 1920, has plans to build its new police station on College Street, and should be done within the next year.

The request for the new station was put to a vote back in 2014 due to unsuitable jail conditions, lack of space and the weathering of the building as a result of old age. Seventeen residential structures on East College Avenue have been knocked down to accommodate the new police department.

Members of each fraternity that reside on the street had their respective opinions on the new police station.

“It just does not make sense to me,” said Carl Felice, a senior political science major and member of PIKE. “This university and the city of Kent, as well, just seem like they’re both trying to disrupt the social culture that has made itself known throughout the past. I think they are forgetting the secondary role of higher education.

“Obviously, your education is the first goal, but it’s the social relationships you build that help you mature whether it’s through a student organization or just meeting people and that’s fostered through going out to social events such as parties.”

Liam Reis, a junior tourism management major and AEPi member, had adverse feelings as well.

“I think it’s unfortunate that it’s happening on a street where a lot of people like to have party’s and hangout and where a lot of college students and fraternities live,” he said. “I think it would have been better if they did it somewhere else, but as long as they don’t pester us too much, then I am fine with it.”

Eric Conway, senior integrated studies major and member of TKE, said: “I think it is just kind of cruddy where a lot of the upperclassman could be living rather than living further away from campus or being forced to live in those super expensive, but nice apartments,” he said. “I think living in a house is an aspect of life and growing up in college.”

Although the police have their own reasons, students and especially the members of these fraternities see it another way. On College Street, there was housing for upperclassmen and more importantly, memories in which some of them recall as being some of their best.

“We actually used to have a house, it’s in the rubble there now, but it was when I was a sophomore,” Felice said. “It’s sad because a lot of the guys who used to live there still talk about how they miss it because we probably still would have had that house if it didn’t get knocked down. I’ve talked to relatives back home who are in their 50s and 60s and went to Kent, and they talk about College Street being the main party street.”

“I remember some people set off some fireworks my second year and a tree caught on fire and the fire department came and hosed down the top of this tree, so that was pretty wild,” Reise said.

Despite that, Felice said that the Kent Police are some of the easiest people to work with in the community.

“(Kent Police) are reasonable. The university police, the university and just the city of Kent aside from the (city) police department are reluctant to cooperate with fraternities and sororities and even other student organizations because of the national image that we get by the media,” Felice said.

As of right now, all three houses have plans on moving locations.

“Obviously when the time comes we’ll have to move, but until then, we’re going to be here,” Felice said.

Brittney Prather is a Greek Life reporter, contact her at [email protected].