A much happier ending

DKS editors

At this time last year, the city of Kent and the university suffered a major black eye after the riots of College Fest, when students threw bottles and set a bonfire in the middle of College Avenue in response to what they called excessive force from the police.

This year, the story was very different. Saturday’s version of the annual block party ended when police officers began clearing parties on the street at around 10:15 p.m. Though some bottles were thrown in the direction of the police officers, the end of the night was relatively tame — and that’s a credit to both students and officers.

It was easy to see that both groups learned their lesson from last year’s riots.

The officers looked prepared to deal with anything that happened, and while they made numerous arrests — 51 in total — they didn’t resort to using rubber bullets like last year.

Meanwhile, the students had also learned their lesson. While they were clearly unhappy with being dispersed (there were chants of “Bullshit” and “F—k the police”), most responded to the police by leaving the street. Some threw bottles, but the number who did was tiny compared to the entire crowd.

We’re glad this year’s College Fest didn’t turn into the mess that last year’s did, mainly because it prevents another major scar for the city and the university.

After the riots last year, footage of the fires appeared on CNN, and newspapers around the country picked up the story.

That coverage didn’t put the university or its students in a good light at all. Many outsiders painted a broad picture of Kent State students as drunken fools, and that’s not exactly the type of school that parents are eager to send their kids to.

So that’s why we’re glad to see Saturday’s festivities end so well in comparison.

While there were certainly some bad eggs in the crowd, it’s important to point out that the majority of students didn’t act out at all. They were simply having a good time, and they listened to the police when it was time to leave. They might not have been happy about it, but they listened.

And while the police officers were dressed in riot gear, they were just being prepared. For much of the night, they simply stood in clusters along the sidewalk, ready to act if something happened.

It’s important to note that with additional block parties coming up — Shermania and Drinkin’ on Lincoln come to mind — students should follow the example of Saturday’s crowd. It’s all right to have a good time, but the night should end peacefully. Causing problems is more trouble than it’s worth.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.