Top 10 news stories this school year

DKS Editors

This school year, Kent State saw a new president, a polar vortex, an extended Esplanade, a gunshot incident, a wrestler’s controversial tweets and a secretive presidential search. Editors at the Daily Kent Stater have compiled a list of the year’s top 10 news stories.


Members of the SWAT team gather on the Kent State campus following reports of a gun shot, April 2, 2014. Photo by Melanie Nesteruk.

1) Campus locked down after gunshot

A single gunshot caused a campus-wide lockdown around 8:30 p.m. on April 2. Police from 10 agencies responded within minutes to a panicked scene that included Bowman Hall and the Business Administration Building. The campus was locked down for three hours before the suspect, freshman Quavaugntay Tyler, was apprehended at Robinson Memorial Hospital and later charged by a grand jury with counts of carrying a concealed weapon, inciting a panic and tampering with evidence. His pre-trial date is June 20.

(Read story here. Look at a timeline of events here.)


President-elect Beverly Warren smiles to spectators on the second level of the Rockwell Hall atrium after being announced by the Board of Trustees as the unversity’s twelfth president, Jan. 8, 2014. Photo by Leah Klafczynski.

2) Beverly Warren announced as new KSU president

The Virginia Commonwealth University provost was selected by the Board of Trustees on Jan. 8 to become Kent State’s 12th president after President Lester Lefton retires this summer. Warren will start July 1.

(Read story here. Watch TV2 Video here.)

3) Presidential search privacy

When President Lefton announced his retirement last year, the university hired a private firm to conduct secretive search — one that resulted in president-elect Beverly Warren. On October 2, the Daily Kent Stater submitted a public records request on to the Kent State Legal Department on for “all applications submitted to the Presidential Search Committee or Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates for the position of president of Kent State University.” However, the firm didn’t release the list of applicants until December 7, and the pool of applicants did not include Beverly Warren.

(Read story here.)

On April 20, a resolution signed by 28 out of 33 Journalism and Mass Communication faculty members publicly condemned the presidential search process and lack of access to public records.

(Read about the JMC faculty response here. Look at a timeline of events here.)


Red shirt-sophomore Sam Wheeler was suspended indefinitely for posting anti-gay slurs on his Twitter account, Feb. 10, 2014. At the time, Wheeler was ranked 13 in the country for the 184 weight class. Photo by Melanie Nesteruk.

4) Wrestler tweets anti-gay slur, Westboro defends him

Westboro Baptist Church, a radical religious organization, announced plans on Twitter on Wednesday, Feb. 19 that it would come to Kent State to protest junior wrestler Sam Wheeler’s suspension. Wheeler was suspended for posting homophobic tweets about University of Missouri defensive end Michael Sam on his personal account. Westboro never showed up at the university, though the group posted several manipulated images of members in Risman Plaza on its Twitter account. Hundreds of students, including members of PRIDE! Kent and the Kent State College Democrats, hosted a rally of their own that night in response to Westboro’s threatened protest.

(Read story here.)


Image courtesy of Portage County Sheriff’s Office.

5) Franklin Township man faces death penalty in murder case

Authorities say a 22-year-old man’s body was found Jan. 17 in the Storer Suites apartment of John Fox, 34, of Franklin Township. Fox was charged the next day with the murder of Justin Earley, an Alliance man who had been missing since Dec. 30. Fox’s case went before a grand jury, which indicted him on one count of murder with specifications for kidnapping and robbery during a murder. Fox could get the death penalty if he is convicted. His pre-trial is scheduled for July 25, and his trial is scheduled for Aug. 4.

(Read story here.)


Kent State experienced extreme cold and snowfall the weekend of Jan. 25, 2014, with snow accumulating approximately five inches. Photo by Melanie Nesteruk.

6) Freak weather causes school closings

This winter, Kent State experienced below-freezing temperatures, snow and canceled classes. Abnormally cold weather caused the university to close during the infamous “polar vortex.” Kent State’s own weatherman, Robert Carroll, helped students plan ahead on whether or not they would be able to spend the day watching Netflix and sledding with friends or whether they would be trekking through snow to get to class on time.

(Read story here.)


Former assistant professor of political science Richard Stanislaw. Photo by Brian Smith.

7) Popular Kent State professor dismissed

Richard Stanislaw, former associate professor of political science, did not return `to Kent State this year because he was not renewed as a faculty member. “Actively misrepresenting” his credentials was cited as one reason for non-renewal. Stanislaw was popular among students and relied on a debate and discussion teaching method. In the notification letter of non-renewal, Andrew Barnes, chair of the political science department, wrote to Stanislaw, “You were clearly hired with the expectation that you would make progress toward a doctorate, and you have actively misrepresented the fact that that would not and could not happen.” Stanislaw said he did not regret his time here at Kent State.

(Read story here.)

8) Esplanade completed, named for President Lefton

The university Esplanade was named after President Lester Lefton in October after the extension was completed and the walkway connected campus to downtown Kent. Jane Murphy Timken, chair of the Kent State Board of Trustees said there could not be a more fitting tribute to Lefton.

“With a clear vision, a commitment to excellence and unshakable optimism, Dr. Lefton has led Kent State to new heights of achievement in areas from academic quality to fundraising to international programs,” Timken said.

(Read story here.)


Kent State football players react after a loss to the Akron Zips at InfoCision Stadium, Nov. 2, 2013. Photo by Jacob Byk.

9) Sports wrapups

The football team and the men’s basketball team had disappointing seasons. After the most successful campaign in school history last year, the football team managed only four wins and pre-season Heisman candidate Dri Archer’s year was plagued by injuries. The basketball team, which had amassed at least twenty victories in fourteen of the previous fifteen seasons, won as many as they lost and made a first-round exit in the MAC tournament. However, plenty of Kent State teams had success. The gymnastics team finished second in the conference; the women’s and men’s indoor track teams finished first and second in the MAC, respectively; and the women’s golf team continued its dominance over MAC golf by winning a 16h consecutive conference title, remaining the only women’s golf champion in MAC history.

(Read sports updates here.)


10) Power plant catches fire, causes damage

A fire at the Kent State power plant on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013 cost the university more than $2 million in repairs. The Level 2 structural fire on the Summit Street side of the plant was reported at 11 p.m. by a Kent State police officer but was contained by 12:10 a.m. A FlashAlert told students, faculty and staff to evacuate the Math building and the Liquid Crystal Institute. Firefighters from eight departments responded to the fire. Two people were inside the building, but neither were injured.

(Read story here.)