5 things that can get you in big trouble at College Fest


Graphic by Allison Struck.

Emily Inverso


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So the line is really long for any bathroom on College Ave. — but you really have to go. There’s the ever popular tree option. A few bushes might be scattered about. Hey, who could possibly see you behind that shed? Because let’s be honest, campus is way too far just to walk back to pee.

But what if you knew those ten seconds of intoxicated bliss meant you would have to register as a sex offender. Would you still do it?

Kent City Police arrested 65 people between April 24 and 25, 2010. Charges ranged from prohibitions to public indecency to disorderly conduct, but all the instances had one common tie: College Fest.

“There’s much more potential for things to occur because there’s so many more people in one place off campus,” Officer Michquel Penn of the Kent State University Police said. “On campus, people may have gone out and then come home, maybe intoxicated, so that’s the potential for something further to happen.”

A specific records breakdown for the annual party was not created in 2011 because the statistics were so similar to a regular Saturday night. But only the day can tell what will happen this year. In the name of not dealing with handcuffs, court dates and fines, maybe a breakdown of some common offenses and their possibly little-known consequences might make you think about waiting in that long bathroom line instead of peeing on a tree.

Public Indecency

“This includes public urination, and I’ve also seen people charged with public indecency for having sex in public at College Fest,” said Carol Crimi, managing attorney for Student Legal Services. “Obviously once they’re sober and have to go to court, [public indecency] is a pretty embarrassing charge to face, and this is a sex offense.”

While a first offense won’t force the charged to register as a sex offender, Crimi said any follow-up offense of the same nature would change that fact.

“If there is a follow-up offense, then you would become a sex offender who would have a registration requirement,” she said. “Wherever you lived, you would have to register with law enforcement, and it would prevent you from living within a certain proximity of schools and obviously wouldn’t look good on a resume.”


This is a criminal offense, including the underage consumption, possession, purchase or shared purchase of alcohol, and it is something that would have to be reported on job applications.

A diversion program can be completed for first offenders to dismiss the case, which requires an alcohol assessment, completion of a class and completion of community service, Crimi said. After the case is dismissed, there is a one-year interim, during which the charged cannot commit any additional offenses, before the convicted can apply to have their case sealed, Crimi said, which requires an application through the court and waiting two to three months.

“In Ohio, expungement never happens,” Crimi said. “Successfully sealing case means the public can no longer view that record, but it is still available to places like licensing agencies when someone applies to be a licensed nurse or psychologist or something.”

In addition to the increased number of prohibition charges being filed at College Fest, a different influx is likely to be happening on campus.

“You will see a definite increase of the number of ambulance requests for the night,” Penn said. “A normal weekend may bring in zero or one ambulance requests, but in 2010 the night of College Fest, there were five requests on campus. Those may be symptoms of alcohol poisoning or other reasons, but there is usually an influx of calls.”


This is probably one of the most expensive offenses for an underage person, Crimi said.

“There is a $1,075 fine, and the minimal amount the judge can make the person pay is $375, and then there are court costs, so you’re going to owe the court close to $500, then there is a mandatory three days in jail,” Crimi said. “They could serve that at a three-day school, but that costs about $350 dollars. They have to pay the BMV $475 to get their license reinstated at the end of the suspension. That’s about $1,700, and that’s without even any attorney fees, which could be $1,500 to $2,000 for a lawyer.”

And that’s not to mention the probable amount the convicted’s insurance rates will go up.

Disorderly Conduct

This comes in two levels. One is a minor misdemeanor — someone causing an annoyance or being publicly intoxicated — and does not necessarily warrant arrest, Crimi said. But the fourth degree misdemeanor, the higher level of disorderly conduct, is if someone is warned to stop by a police officer and they continue on with the disruptive behavior.

“That’s when they can be charged and subject to arrest,” she said.

That’s potentially punishable by a $250 fine and 30 days in jail, along with the possible addition of community service.

“In most cases, where physical injuries aren’t involved, the person will be given suspended jail time,” Crimi said. “Like that’s hanging over the person’s head but they don’t actually have to serve the jail time as long as they pay their fine and complete any community work service.”

Common reasons for police intervention

“The most common reason we would approach is someone acting out, but other reasons could be actions that make us believe someone is underage, their actions,” Penn said. “We’re walking past and all of a sudden they try to hide a beer or something of that nature, the biggest thing is their behavior that brings our attention to them in the first place.”

And while there will be an increased number of officers on patrol around Kent during College Fest, they do not set out with busting parties in mind.

“The misconception is we will have more officers there to get more arrests, but that’s not what we’re there for,” Penn said. “We just know there’s a potential for danger. There may be people coming here who aren’t students or from the area, but will know there are going to be a lot of students all in one area, and not everyone has a good intention in mind.”

Contact Emily Inverso at [email protected].