Our View: We’re waiting for your words

DKS Editors

It has been a sad and strange week.

The Kent State community and beyond lost Christopher Kernich after a week in intensive care following a heartless assault in downtown Kent.

And students continue to be robbed and assaulted both on and off campus.

This is not the Kent we know and love. This is not something any of us could have been prepared for, but we also don’t need to point any fingers because it won’t do any good. We can’t do anything but be cautious and ask our protectors for help.

Kent State police should be blanketing the university at all hours. No stone should go unturned and no strange occurrence unreported. Security guards should be extending offers to students they see walking across campus at night, not waiting to be asked for help. And on that note, perhaps more guards should be hired or put on duty.

Kent city police should also be blanketing the town – especially the hours at night when students are milling about town going to and from bars or friends’ houses. And the patrol shouldn’t take place just in a car. There are alleys and routes students take as shortcuts, and police need to be checking those on foot if necessary.

We need to know what to do in these situations. Students are nervous, shocked and scared. Police need to speak to students about what to do if they’re in dangerous situations, and they need to calm fears. Kent has been and can still be considered a safe place, but now more students must be convinced of this.

Now is not the time for safety officials to remain mum. We’ve read the Facebook and Twitter posts and KentNewsNet comments. Many students are scared. Parents are nervous. We understand police can’t comment about specifics because of the investigation. But what about efforts to increase campus and community surveillance? It would be reassuring to hear about increased patrols or the like.

At least President Lester Lefton commented about the string of events this weekend. But big surprise – he hasn’t had much communication with the police either. They’ve leaked bits and pieces of information to him, but not enough for him to know whether he’s under reacting or overreacting. It’s hard to be confident that we’re safe when Lefton doesn’t even know the full extent of the circumstances.

We believe a lot could be accomplished, including a strong gameplan to counteract crime, if these two strong community forces could work together.

Students are not ignoring these occurrences. We need to know how to avoid these situations. Let us know, and let us know as soon as possible.

We don’t want to stop enjoying our town or our campus – and we shouldn’t. We can’t live in fear or show others that we’re afraid. We are not targets; we are students. Just let us know what we need to do.

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