EDITORIAL: Students should respect other residents

The front page of Tuesday’s Daily Kent Stater features a large photo of three young men. The gentleman in the center wears a not-so-hilariously suggestive shirt that reads “Free the Tadpoles;” a stolen stop sign overlooks the bar, upon which beer cartons have been carefully arranged to resemble fraternity letters; beer advertisements and Christmas lights adorn the upper portions of the wall; and a Van Wilder poster hangs conspicuously in the background, partially obscured by computer-generated messages that read “MUST BE 21 TO DRINK”ƒ_” overwhelming evidence that these law-abiding citizens and model tenants would never condone any sort of unruly behavior in or around their domicile.

They stand behind their homemade bar, arms folded, as if issuing a challenge; to the police, to the city council, to anyone who isn’t quite as “college” as they are: Go ahead, just TRY to stop our fun.

No, this isn’t an advertisement for National Lampoon’s latest movie. The three young men in the picture are residents of 573 Vine St., and even more frightful than their frat-boy chic home decor is the alleged behavior that they and their guests have allegedly exhibited. Their neighbors on the street accuse them of excessive noise, public urination, illegal bonfires, et al. As a result, the city of Kent has threatened to take action.

It’s hard to feel sympathy for the keepers this now infamous address, one of whom has the gall to argue that a yard full of red plastic “keg cups” is somehow less unsightly than a yard full of empty beer cans.

But it’s even harder to hold them solely responsible for an attitude that has become prevalent throughout Kent and, most likely, throughout every other college town in America. College students often seem to think that their behavior has no consequences, especially not for the non-student population that inhabits the town where they live. The reasoning goes something like this: “It’s ok for me to be an obnoxious, drunk idiot because without students like me, this town would go under. And if the townies don’t like it, they can move.”

This line of reasoning is, among other things, selfish, crude, inconsiderate, pompous and ridiculous. Expecting the City of Kent and its residents to have to put up with the booze-addled shenanigans of the student population and not do anything about it is positively asinine.

Having a good time is fine, and it’s true that there are often cases where the authorities go far beyond the reasonable in attempting to maintain law and order. It’s important that students are able to cut loose a bit during this enjoyable time in their lives. But the student body has a responsibility as well: to respect their non-student fellow residents who want nothing more than a clean yard and a good night’s sleep.

573 Vine St. isn’t the first house to have this problem, and it won’t be the last. But maybe taking measures to foster more respectful conduct toward their neighbors could be a step in the right direction for all of Kent State to emulate.

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