Your view: Responses to the College Fest riots

Everyone was just enjoying College Fest

I was there from 5 p.m. until midnight after the police left. Everything was fine earlier; the police were standing on the sidewalks making sure students were not getting too out of hand, and they weren’t. People were staying out of the streets and just enjoying the day.

Then the next thing I knew the police started to shoot paint balls and rubber bullets at the crowd to try to scare them off. Many students, including myself, began to run away until things seemed to calm down. Students then started to return to College Avenue – that is when the fires started. People began to throw couches, street signs and two-by-fours into the fire. More police then came back and began to march down the street, warning people that if they did not go inside a house or leave, they would be tear gassed.

This was ironic seeing as how they had already sprayed tear gas into many of the houses. For the most part, people obeyed and stayed inside until the cops left around midnight. I think the police definitely overacted. Everyone was just enjoying another College Fest until the police tried to take over.

Darcie Chabola is a freshman fashion merchandising major.

‘Too many disrespect the opportunity’

I am old enough to remember the Kent State incident in the early ’70s. It appears that no one learned anything from that horrible time. The behavior of what is probably a small minority of “students” at Kent State is appalling, and the individuals involved deserve to be permanently removed from the Kent State student body with no chance of re-instatement. What took place isn’t constitutionally protected discourse. It is hooliganism, vandalism, criminal and should not be tolerated.

I am not an alumnus of Kent State, but if I were you may be assured that any contributions, financial or otherwise, would be cut off if this behavior is tolerated by the administration.

A good higher education isn’t a right, it is a privilege, and too many disrespect the opportunity they have to get one and are too willing to disrupt the educational process of other students. This cannot be tolerated.

Nathan McCreery is a New Mexico resident.

‘The police used unnecessary force’

Well, it started getting interesting when I was on a porch, and I took a rubber bullet in my stomach. All I was doing was taking pictures. Then I attempted to go in the house and the door was locked.

At this time riot police formed a line and began walking down College Avenue. I got hit six more times with pepperballs (I have bruises to prove this). I became disoriented and I was coughing. I needed water. So I had no choice but to walk up College Avenue toward Eagle’s Landing. With my shirt over my face and one hand in the air showing peace, I began to walk slowly on the sidewalk.

I got about 30 feet when I heard, “Get on the ground!” I was immediately thrown to the ground. I automatically put my hands behind my back and put my wrists together. “Stop resisting!” said the officer as he threw his knee on my back.

The police used unnecessary force; I never threw any bottles or yelled at them. I don’t think police have the right to shoot anything at random, innocent people. I got hit in the back of my legs, to me that means they shot me while I was walking away.

Anthony Haney is a freshman business major.

Both sides at fault

You’d think that at a school where in 1970 the National Guard fired upon a group of protestors, there would be a little more wisdom about how to go about protesting things. You’d think that an event so big that it was known across the world, putting this tiny town of Kent on the map and having a class put into university curriculum (conflict management) would make people smarter when it comes to dealing with incompetence in authority.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be the case in Kent, Ohio.

Saturday was embarrassing. Are we seriously stooping to these levels of chaotic anti-productivity? I know everyone likes to have a good time, and I know that no one wants anyone to get hurt over it, and the police play an important role in keeping us safe most of the time. But shouldn’t the cops have just left those girls alone? Weren’t they just looking to get some arrests?

But so what if those girls got arrested? They were probably being totally obnoxious and needed to be shut up. Why else would the cops have arrested them? Who cares if they were too rough? Why go protesting by burning things and chanting “KSU” making our university look like it stands for chaos and drunken anti-productivity? As fun as that stuff is, there are better ways to protest.

I think both sides of this whole incident deserve chastisement. Police know that college kids drink and party and there is a ton of tension over it and don’t need to resort to Tasers and beating drunk girls to keep the peace. Drunken students, as hard as it is being drunk and see cops act like the pigs, there are better ways to rise up and speak out against incompetence on the part of law enforcement. Just remember what Matthew Lillard says at the end of “SLC Punk!”: “You can do a hell of a lot more damage in the system than outside of it.”

Maybe the cops should be more intuitive when it comes to dealing with drunk people that they know already have resentment towards them, and maybe drunk people should read more books and pay attention to real people of protest and productivity so that when they feel that injustice is being served, they can meet it with the proper action.

Corey Svoboda is a sophomore visual communication design major.

Other responses

After recently reading the Daily Kent Stater, I have noticed the Police Blotter section has had numerous reports of underage drinking on various parts of the campus. Even more recently, I was following the updates on the riots on College Avenue. After reading about both of these incidents, I wonder if the students involved in these reports are in college for the right reasons.

While it is fun to hang out with friends and have a good time, college is a time for students our age to learn the responsibilities of life while still being able to rely on the adults in our lives when necessary. While we should be allowed to enjoy the pleasures of life, it seems that a majority of those who take part in such “party” activities do so without the consideration of the law or a sense of moderation.

I am not opposed to having a couple casual drinks with friends who are all legally allowed to drink and responsible enough to do so, but it makes me embarrassed when I hear things such as reports of underage drinking and the riots. Kent State is already known for the May 4 shootings and the “Kent Read, Kent Write, Kent State” slogan. Does it really make sense to add more negative images to the Kent State vision as seen by those who are part of the general public?

A university such as Kent State is a place to learn, grow and take the first steps into life as mature adults; not as a group of students who barely got by and already have a criminal background. Grow up already!

Matt Knapik is an electronic media production major

Amidst all the media coverage of Saturday’s riots involving Kent State University students, I noticed a line at the bottom of a Daily Kent Stater article that said a reporter who contacted Kent State President Lester Lefton Saturday evening at his home was given no comment on the situation and told it was inappropriate for a reporter to call him during his off hours. As a graduate of the university’s journalism program, I would tend to disagree with that assessment.

I feel that as the figurehead of a major university like Kent State, a large part of Lefton’s job involves public relations. When he agreed to take up the role of Kent State president, he also took on an obligation to the student body and to maintaining the image of the university.

I feel that in circumstances such as the events that occurred over the weekend, it is his duty to be available for comment – even at times that are less than convenient. I realize that this was an issue for the Kent city police and didn’t involve the university directly, but how hard would it have been to generate a quick, one-sentence response if for no other reason than to acknowledge an interest in issues affecting Kent State students? I view Mr. Lefton’s alleged response as somewhat disrespectful to the student media (who are also paying thousands of dollars in tuition each year to attend the university), and I find it to be a little unsettling.

William Schertz is a Kent State alumnus and Akron resident.

Police are supposed to help resolve conflict, not create it!

According to an article I read online through associates of the Stater, there were 15 different emergency crews represented, and yet a total of four fires were still able to be started. How does that happen? Fifteen different emergency squads and none of them could control a simple fire? According to many eye-witnesses, police officers were reacting violently to peaceful partiers. It is not a crime to drink alcohol on private property when you are of age. Why were innocent people being shot with rubber bullets and tear gas?

So, I’d like to salute the police from Brady Lake, Kent, Kent State, Brimfield, County Sheriff, Aurora, State Highway Patrol, Stow, Suffield Township, Monroe Falls, Tallmadge, Ravenna, Cuyahoga Falls, Streetsboro and the Metro SWAT team for making a mockery of justice and arresting 60 people. GOOD JOB!!!

Jason Troyer is a sophomore sociology major.