It’s 11 p.m., who do you want answering the phone?

Ted Hamilton

Regardless of whether you blame the students or the authorities for Saturday night’s ruckus, one thing is for sure: The university could have handled the situation a lot better.

Instead of issuing a statement or even saying, “No comment” after Saturday’s charades, President Lefton told a reporter who called him at his home that it was “inappropriate” to receive a call from the university’s newspaper late at night.

Coming with a price tag of about $380,000, our president should be available at any time, day or night.

Especially when a huge event like this could be having a negative impact on enrollment. How many parents who have seen the coverage of the riots thought, “Gee, I should send little Johnny and Sally to Kent State so they know what a nihilistic version of the ’70s was like!” Or how many pulled our their checkbooks to make a donation to the university?

What was happening Saturday night should have been an important event, not just something the administration could shrug off until Monday. Just because the Daily Kent Stater does not come out Sunday no longer means reporting does not get done. Thanks to the Internet and social networking tools like Twitter and Facebook, newspapers are constantly putting news into the homes of people even if they are not going to print.

Enrollment and fundraising are our President Lefton’s fortes. If something should threaten either of those, he should have a statement about the event.

Our president is also supposed to be the face of our university. How does it look to shrug off a reporter when the immense work that has been put in to building a good relation with the city gets jeopardized by people who are – for lack of a better phrase – in your care?

It looks pretty horrid and creates more tension between the students and the townies, something Kent State does not need. Students already appear to be a rabid bunch of alcoholic dogs to some of the people in Kent – acts like these help to personify that mentality.

What we needed Saturday was someone to condemn the acts from the get go, not issue a statement later. As one mother pointed out in a column Monday, Lefton had a chance to shine Saturday and show he cares for the students and the university that employs him.

Instead it seems like he, and the other university official who claimed it was “family time,” can only be bothered between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Well, unless it is to take a trip to Europe at the students’ expense.

Hopefully, the events at College Fest do not repeat themselves at Drinkin’ on North Lincoln or Shermania this weekend. If they do, hopefully the administration has a better response for the newspaper, the student body and the city’s residents than complaining about being woken up.

Ted Hamilton is a senior magazine journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].