What an OSU student thinks about KSU

Ben Wolford

Sometimes I wish law enforcement officers in Kent had more important things to worry about.

After speeding all over Columbus this weekend, it wasn’t until I returned late, weary, and homesick to Kent that I got a speeding ticket.

It was for $140. I wasn’t even going that much over. If I were a cop, I’d be the most compassionate one.

“Listen, I know you can’t afford this, so I’m going to let you off this time. But, hey, man, you’ve really gotta go slower,” I’d say.

This isn’t what my column is about, though. I’ll start for real now.

I was in Columbus just for an evening Saturday, visiting some friends I interned with at The Dispatch this summer. One of them, Collin Binkley, is the editor of Ohio State’s student paper, The Lantern, this semester.

After dinner at the Surly Girl Saloon in the Short North, the group of us walked up North High Street watching the crowds coming from the Horseshoe, where the Buckeye’s defeated the Miami Hurricanes. The people walking around wearing green and orange were shunned.

“Hey, you lost!” said one girl in scarlet to another girl in green, who wasn’t amused.

Ohio State’s culture is football.

Collin told me about a story he was going to have one of his sports writers pursue about some of the people at OSU who couldn’t care less about football. He was going to find a few students who stayed home on Saturday nights and avoided watch parties.

I thought about how the Stater could do a story like that, and I quickly realized that for us to do a similar interesting story, we’d have to find the few students who eat, sleep and breathe Flashes football. Those people are the minority here.

(By the way, if you eat, sleep and breathe Flashes football, send me an e-mail. I want to write about you.)

So I asked Collin what comes to mind when he thinks of Kent State.

“The May 4 shootings, obviously,” he said.

“What about any particular academic programs — do any stand out?”

“None that I can think of,” he said. “I didn’t even know the journalism school was anything special until I met you guys.”

I was a little surprised by that. He hadn’t heard of the fashion school or the architecture program? And doesn’t everyone know the Daily Kent Stater is one of the best student newspapers in the country? (I’m not entirely exaggerating.)

So that’s it: May 4.

When I studied in England for a semester and told people where I went to school, they didn’t immediately recognize “Kent State.” But when I explained the shooting, almost all of them knew what I was talking about.

What happened in 1970 will forever define us to the outside world.

I wonder if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

Ben Wolford is a senior newspaper journalism major and the editor of the Daily Kent Stater. E-mail him at [email protected] and read his blog at http://staterinteractive.com/blogs/editor/