Police increase forces for final weeks

Christina Stavale

Officials advise students attending parties, College Fest to act responsibly

The Kent police force will beef up its staff on the weekends, starting today, in anticipation of end-of-semester partying.

This weekend marks the annual College Fest, the block party on College Avenue. Last year, according to police reports, there were 39 arrests that weekend, which Lt. Jayme Cole of the Kent Police Department said is higher than a typical weekend in Kent.

Nine of those arrests last year were made on College Avenue, and 23 were for underage drinking.

“We’re optimistic that there will be fewer arrests (this year),” Cole said, adding that it depends how people behave.

Cole said block parties like College Fest happen every year.

“There’s a number every year,” he said. “What streets they turn up on changes.”

There are two block parties planned for next weekend, May 2 and 3:ÿDrinkin’ on North Lincoln and Shermania, on North Lincoln and Sherman streets.

Cole said these parties are considerably smaller than Halloween celebrations, but much larger than St. Patrick’s Day. Typical problems include underage drinking, disorderly conduct and arson fires in the street.

Ward 5 Councilwoman Heidi Shaffer, whose ward includes all three streets where the parties will be held, said she tries to encourage students to stay responsible.

“A lot of students want to be a good social host,” she said, “but things get out of hand.”

She encouraged students hosting parties to stay sober and to provide food and non-alcoholic beverages in addition to alcoholic drinks. She also said hosts should not let anyone they don’t know into their houses.

She said she doesn’t like to scold residents, but she wants to teach them preventative methods to getting in trouble.

“I don’t want to pretend that college isn’t supposed to be fun because it is,” she said.

Dean of Students Greg Jarvie will be conducting a walk around heavily student-populated neighborhoods today and next weekend to remind students about the consequences of breaking the law.

“We’re basically going to tell people to have fun, but be safe, be responsible,” he said. “And they need to understand if they’re basically breaking the law, that there are going to be consequences.”

Jarvie said the walk isn’t because of College Fest specifically, but it is something they do every year when the weather begins to get warmer. The key is to let students know that if they participate in underage drinking and outrageous parties, there will be consequences.

Cole said if any residents on College Avenue not participating in the street-wide party have people on their lawn or trying to get into their house, they should call the police department.

Contact public affairs reporter Christina Stavale at [email protected].