EDITORIAL: ‘We are not animals!’

The 1960 movie Spartacus chronicles the life of a slave to the Roman Empire who is saved from a death sentence by Batiatus, who buys him and brings him to a gladiator training school. In one pivotal scene in the movie, Varinia, a female slave, is placed in the cell of Spartacus, who falls in love with her instantly. He sees a voyeuristic Batiatus watching him and Varinia as though they were cattle and screams, “I am not an animal!”

Ironically, we are still having this debate more than 45 years after the release of this film. At an Oct. 26 candidate forum, council-at-large candidates were given the opportunity to speak on the issue of boarding houses. One such candidate, William J. Anderson, compared college students to dogs.

“Young kids are like animals,” Anderson said at the forum. “They’re like dogs; they like to know what their limits are.”

He also said Kent State students have watched the film Animal House too much.

One of his solutions to the noise problem attributed to boarding houses would be for students to sign a code of ethics.

To Mr. Anderson, council members debating extra regulations for boarding house residents and community members who look negatively on college students: We are not animals.

Maybe it isn’t the college students who have watched Animal House too much. Sure, most of us are the aforementioned 20-something “young kids” Anderson was so intent on punishing like dogs, but we aren’t all the toga-clad, out-of-control students featured in the film.

Yes, there are some noisy students who live in off-campus houses, but why hold their offenses against all boarding house residents? Two of the proposed ideas to address the concerns of residents include registering all house occupants in boarding houses and signing a code of ethics. This sounds more like summer camp than renting a duplex.

It seems as if there is an “us vs. them” mentality between Kent State students and the residents of Kent. If the two parties could learn to effectively communicate as neighbors rather than enemies, there would be fewer calls to the police and better sentiments among all residents.

We’re not “young kids.” We’re adults who are capable of compromise. Don’t let a few belligerent college students taint your view of the entire college population.

Kent State students are not all menaces; we’re not all out to wreak havoc on the city of Kent, and we are an important part of Kent’s economy.

And most of all, we are not animals.

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