Council discusses Delta Upsilon fire, meets APPLE students

Seth Roy

Michael Pfahl addressed Kent City Council at its meeting regarding a fire at the Delta Upsilon International Fraternity’s house at 202 S. Lincoln St. on Sept. 26.

Pfahl, a member of the fraternity’s board of directors, said in an e-mail to the council on Sept. 27 that he was concerned the Kent Police Department wasn’t investigating the incident.

“At around 3:30 a.m. Tuesday morning,” his e-mail reads, “the occupants of 202 S. Lincoln St. … were awakened by a smoke-filled house. When they went downstairs, several fires were blazing and several windows had been blown out in two different parts of the first floor.”

He also said the police told him the case was closed.

When addressing the council, Pfahl was assured police were still investigating.

City Manager Dave Ruller said it was a misunderstanding between Pfahl and the police.

“The night of the incident is not the time (to discuss it),” Ruller said. “It was really a case of misunderstanding. It’s by no means a done deal.”

Pfahl said some of the house’s residents had more information for police, but are hesitant to come forward because they don’t know how it’s being handled.

Ruller said the city needs full cooperation from any witnesses for the investigation to move forward.

“The dialogue is going on,” Ruller said. “We need those people to come forward.”

Pfahl apologized for some of his claims in the letter and said he appreciated the police who were looking into the incident.

“I apologize, in part, for the strength of the letter I sent you,” Pfahl said. “I have respect for the job they (the police and fire departments) do. I really feel this is a matter the city needs to look into.”

In other business, Richard Robyn, assistant professor of political science, introduced some of the students participating in Kent State’s Applied Public Policy Learning Experience program to the council.

The APPLE program is for freshmen and focuses on learning about politics on a local level.

“This is a part of Kent State’s effort to reach out to the local community,” Robyn said.

The students in the program will attend council meetings and shadow council members to learn about local government.

In other council news, Ward 3 Councilman Wayne Wilson motioned to authorize $500 for food for officers during the city’s Halloween weekend.

Also, for next week’s committee meeting, Wilson proposed to let citizens speak out on the city’s budget issues.

“I think it’s time to let them get their words of wisdom in, too,” Wilson said. “I was just trying to give the public the chance to hear what their councilmen are thinking.”

Contact public affairs reporter Seth Roy at [email protected].