Community Task Force to expand

Jackie Valley

Community Affairs Senator Justin Jeffery wants to bridge the gap between Kent State students and the community, but it will take more than three people.

As part of his platform goal, Jeffery is expanding the Community Task Force, which currently includes only himself, Dean of Students Greg Jarvie and Kent Mayor John Fender.

Jeffery said the expansion will comprise of five members representing the Inter-Fraternity Council, Inter Greek Programming Board, Panhellenic Council, Black United Students and the Undergraduate Student Senate, plus at least 10 seats open to all students.

“If this is going to work, we need students to step up and get involved,” Jeffery said.

Last Friday, Jeffery met with Jarvie and Lt. Jayme Cole of the Kent Police Department to discuss the new task force.

The task force’s first priority will be to promote responsible partying, Jeffery said. The ‘party patrol,’ a group made up of task force members, will conduct walk-arounds near target areas such as College Avenue and Sherman Street to speak with students living off campus.

“We’re not there to regulate or bust parties,” he said. “We’re there to evaluate the parties.”

Jarvie said students must understand that breaking the law at parties — underage drinking, public intoxication and noise ordinances — has severe consequences that can hurt future employment.

“We don’t want to see anyone get in trouble,” Jarvie said.

The task force will be as proactive as possible in dealing with the issues, he said, trying to cater to the needs of both residents and students.

“One of the things I stress is that students need to understand that their noise and garbage affect other people,” he said.

Jeffery said the task force wants to erase the stigma that Kent State students are only temporary residents.

“When we are here, we do call it home, and we do respect it,” he said.

To send the message that “Kent is more than just a college city,” Jeffery said one of the task force’s goals is to post videos on the university Web site of city leaders talking about Kent.

Jeffery said he also hopes the task force will strengthen relations between the Kent Police Department and students living off campus.

To do so, he said the task force will focus on instilling in freshmen a respect for the city before they move off campus. The Community Task Force hopes to be involved in freshmen orientation next year, he said, with the eventual goal of becoming a student organization.

The Community Task Force’s next meeting on Feb. 21 will include city officials, police department representatives, university officials, Kent citizens and students, Jarvie said.

Jeffery said he plans to have an informational meeting for new members the week of March 12, with training the following week.

Contact student politics reporter Jackie Valley at [email protected].