Opinion: Police occupy College Avenue



Kelsey Misbrener

Kelsey Misbrener, Guest Columnist

Kelsey Misbrener is a senior news major and features editor for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].

I’d heard the rumors: “The cops are going to shut off the power in your house if you have a party!” “They’re going to expel anyone on a lawn!” “They’re going to sic a horde of angry wasps on anyone who cracks open a beer!” But I didn’t expect people to actually believe them.

I had been to College Fest twice before. Both times, the number of people that came out to this block party shocked me. This year, I was actually living on College Avenue. I was nervous about how many people would show up for the annual block party, mostly because I didn’t want them messing with my beloved stray cats.

Even with the rumors swirling, I thought for sure some ballsy residents would still blare crappy rap music and drink watery beer in the yards.

I pulled onto College Avenue on Saturday morning and heard the soft blow of the morning wind. I heard the dull roar of construction in the distance. I think I even heard a black squirrel sneeze.

But I heard no College Fest.

Usually, on Saturday mornings when it’s nearing 70 degrees, there are people on every other porch drinking coffee or playing beer pong. But today, I saw no such people.

There were no cops patrolling at that hour, just a lone cruiser behind me at the stop sign. I made sure to come to a full stop.

I walked into my apartment, fed my gerbils and gathered my media ethics materials in my backpack. I decided to go to Tree City Coffee to do some homework.

Mine were the only footsteps on College Avenue. I looked at every house I passed. They all seemed vacant. The street had turned into a ghost town on what is usually the most rowdy day of a Kent State spring semester.

After I got some work done at Tree City and got some lunch with my friend, I decided to walk back home at 3 p.m.

I approached the Route 59 crosswalk and saw the sky-blue helmets glistening in the afternoon sun. A line of about ten cops sat on the guardrail at the dead end of College Avenue. They were enjoying Cokes and cracking jokes.

As I crossed the road and approached the rail-sitters, I panicked. What if they think I have beer in my backpack? What if they can tell I had a Negro Modelo after lunch?

“Relax, Kelsey,” I told myself. “You’re 22, and you’ve done nothing wrong.”

But what if they knew I really wished College Fest was happening? I felt like they were the Thought Police in George Orwell’s “1984.”

When they heard me coming and turned their intimidating heads my way, my voice cracked and I uttered a small “hi.”

I could feel their eyes on me as I crossed the road and walked awkwardly back to my house at the other end of the street.

At this hour, there were probably three houses with a handful of people on the porch. These people were either sitting on porches or lying in the sun. Some had beers in hand; some did not. But no one was being disrespectful. They were simply enjoying the day the way they do most Saturdays.

Further down the road, a group of another 10 cops were walking in a large clump. “I wonder if the criminals in town have planned to commit crimes today, while the police are busy walking up and down a quiet street,” I wondered.

They were all dressed in dark blue uniforms. Most of them wore helmets. Some carried the headgear by their sides.

They looked absurd, policing a road that didn’t need policed. I know College Fest has gotten destructive and irresponsible in the past, but when no one is on the street save for a handful of porch dwellers, there is no need to maintain that occupying force just to say, “We prevented College Fest.”