New nuisance laws go too far

Attention Kent State students: The next time you decide to have a party, you might find yourself out $500, and that’s not including the costs of the kegs.

Kent City Council passed two new ordinances aimed at keeping the intensity of parties throughout the city to a minimum. City Council members are insisting this isn’t targeting Kent State students, but the students are clearly the ones who are to be reprimanded by the new ordinances. Students are an easy target and usually the ones in Kent doing most of the partying that the community finds offensive.

The former fine for unlawful noise could range from nothing (a warning) to $1,000; however, while this will remain the same, the second fine will now be a minimum fine of $500. And that’s a lot of money. That’s a semester’s worth of books, a month’s worth of food or the gas bill for one of those monstrous eight-bedroom houses.

Students don’t have $500 to spare. Maybe a fine like that would make them cut back on their alcohol consumption. It will probably force many to cut back on their food consumption as well. Come on, let’s at least give people a chance. A smaller minimum fee would be better. That punishment fee should correlate with the severity of the crime – sure, parties can get out of control and are perhaps worthy of a $500 fine, but applying that to every second-time offender is too much.

The ordinance is also aimed at limiting littering. Believe it or not, a lot of the litter in a person’s yard wasn’t done by the occupant of that home. That’s just silly to litter your own yard. From broken lawn furniture to underwear, people just tend to leave things in random places – especially after a night of drinking.

There are also provisions to stop vandalism and public urination. Vandalizing property and urinating in some old lady’s yard are bad, but there are just better ways to stop it than slapping people with a huge fine. A fine of $500 for peeing in someone’s yard just seems a little excessive.

Unlawful noise is also difficult to define. There needs to be some sort of understanding between students and the city. We hope that the City Council will be communicating with residents and repeat party offenders more, instead of just assuming they are going to read stories about the new ordinance in the local papers.

Councilmen John Kuhar said that “we don’t need to pay our debt with penalties.” True that, John. Students are a big part of the Kent community, whether or not the rest of the residents see it that way. Yes, throwing crazy parties that disturb an entire neighborhood is not the best portrayal of the student body’s image. Just give us a chance, and we’ll prove we aren’t all troublemakers.

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