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WATCH: 'College Fest' Ends in Tear Gas

Annual block party pits partiers against police

Editor's note: amateur video of Saturday's events, attached to this article, contains foul language. Viewer discretion is advised.

The annual block party known as "College Fest" held to celebrate the end of the school year at ended in a cloud of tear gas Saturday night.

, with support from area police departments, tried to disperse a crowd of thousands of people who gathered on East College Avenue between 7 and 9 p.m. with messages of "The party is over" broadcast over megaphones followed by blasts of tear gas canisters.

Some in the crowd responded by throwing bottles at the police.

KentWired reported that police tried to disperse the crowd after several violent fights broke out. Firefighters also had to respond to a fire set on University Drive, according to police radio traffic.

Fox 8 news reported that 3,000 people swarmed the block for the unnofficial party.

Police closed off portions of Lincoln Street, College Avenue and Haymaker Parkway as part of the effort to quell the activity.

The university issued a statement, with Kent State spokesperson Emily Vincent telling KentWired that the university "is closely monitoring today’s events and supports the city in its efforts to keep celebrations safe for everyone involved."

jim francis April 22, 2012 at 01:20 PM
great side view
jt April 22, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Lame. They should not be allowed to destroy public space like this- how can the city let this happen again? The property owners should be sent the police bill and that street should be leveled. Active enforcement of illegal student rentals should happen ASAP + be removed from the city. The students seemingly don't pay taxes here- I'd rather funding go to schools and services to increase quality of life not paying for policing these "students" excellence in ACTION[in italics]...
Chris (Kit) Myers April 22, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Wow, jt, that's powerful stuff you write and I agree to a certain point. I, as a licensed student rental owner of a nice home for students on South Willow, have complained for YEARS to the city about unlicensed houses in the neighborhood alas, to no avail. However, my list, although outdated, lists nineteen licensed houses on East College street, so in the situation of yesterday, licensing doesn't seem to really matter. I would agree that tax money should be able to be put to better use than paying for policing things like College Fest(er), t but the bill for it should be paid by fines levied for actions such as public intoxication, assult, littering, violating the noise ordinance, and whatever else they are doing contrary to statutes and ordinances. You will never stop the sale of alcohol in Kent, and you can never stop partying, but you CAN make those who overindulge pay for their actions. By the way, I DO have a lot of tenants working and paying taxes.
Teresa K. April 22, 2012 at 06:02 PM
JT: The students are doing the police a favor by giving them much needed experience in crowd control and rioting assistance. I dont think the property owners should be sent any bill-- they pay taxes on the property and on the income. The students pay alot of tuition and give alot of local businesses revenue. We need the students and the students need us. I appreciate that these drunks keep us in the news and keep up the reputation that Kent, Ohio is known for throughout the World ! My concern is this: I WANT to see the names of those involved in the FIGHTS in the paper. Thats what the fuss was about and why the police needed called in the first place, right ? ; ) ^5 to Kent officers, the KFD, and all others assisting ! Good job. See ya in a month !
jt April 22, 2012 at 08:09 PM
Chris: Thank you for maintaining licensed rental properties I'm sure you take care of your investment and have reasonable expectations on how your occupants use your property. Regarding College St. I would say the occupancy of roof structures is unreasonable and not designed for such loads. The licensing should take into account the performance of the property throughout the year- not on a yearly one time basis- sounds like kick backs to me. For a property owner to shirk such responsibility with their occupants and their property to remain licensed is absurd. Notice how the response is don't fine the property owners- that got some attention. My rant on illegal rentals pertains to my street where parents swoop in- pick up a cheap place and illegally place more tenants than allowed by law and I have to smell the cigarettes + marijuana they're smoking next door. I'd rather have the city manage this issue not college fest. Teresa: Doing the Police a favor? I would rather not have rioting [without a cause] in our city. This situation can escalate to the point of people not just getting hurt but can cause death if someone were to fall drunkenly off a roof and stomped on by a mob. I know KSU is filled with really good students. Any publicity is good publicity...? Paying tuition and supporting local businesses is not a license to burn stuff and act irresponsibly[throwing bottles at police]. I can't wait to see all the money from fines roll in as you guys are suggesting...
Chris (Kit) Myers April 22, 2012 at 11:54 PM
Well, you know, jt, there are a lot of people in Kent who think that this sort of thing is Ok, just college kids blowing off steam, celebrating the end of the school year. I am not one of them. What have we become that we have mayhem on the streets? What kind of quality of life do we have with drunken brawls on the streets? Where is the outrage? There won't be five letters to the Record-Courier expressing it. Lefton: Deal with these drunks who bring dishonor to my alma mater and to the City of Kent. You have the authority. Don't pass it off to a flunky - YOU do it. Judges: Throw the book at them. If they are old enough to vote, they are old enough to be responsible for their actions. Am I being harsh? You bet! It is long past time for Kent to get with it. If I saw a tenant of mine throwing something at a police officer, that person would be evicted in a New York minute.
DJB April 23, 2012 at 12:37 AM
I totally agree with Jt, these slumlords that rent a room for every closet size space should be sent a bill for the clean up. I grew up and still live and pay taxes in Kent and I partied and had a good time like everyone else through the years but I didn't throw bottles and yell F the police when they came to break up a party. I was disgusted by the videos I saw. Parents should be mortified if they see their son or daughter acting in such a disrespecting way. As for Teresa comments, REALLY !!!
Chris (Kit) Myers April 23, 2012 at 01:27 AM
Well, DJB, the City of Kent has room size specifications that must be met for a person to be able to rent out a room in a licensed house. if you know of an unlicensed house, by all means notify the city. You won't. Please name the slumlords in Kent and state why they are slumlords. I challenge you to do so. You won't. You and all the other anti-student rental people in Kent need to put up or shut up. You were disgusted by the videos you saw. Were you able to identify a slumlord out there fighting or throwing bottles at police officers? When you had a good time in Kent you didn't yell f*** at the police. Had you done so, accompanying it with fights and thrown beer bottles, would it have been someone else's fault? Your parents' fault? If your parents rented would it have been the landlord's fault? No, the blame lies with the lawbreaker. It is noone's fault but their own, and lawbreakers need to be punished accordingly. And... Emily Vincent from the university has the gall to insult us with the statement that the university "is closely monotoring today's events and supports the city in its efforts to keep celebrations safe for everyone involved." That is spin at its finest. In fact, if I may say so, it is nothing but unadulterated crappola. My sister recently retired as assistant dean at the University of Texas. Believe me, drunken students down there would never get away with what they do here.
jim April 23, 2012 at 03:18 AM
With all the pictures of the perps, like the ones throwing stuff and fighting, you'd think some of them would be thrown out of school? If they made a more positive and peaceful impression, and cleaned up after themselves, it wouldn't be all bad. But I think some, and probably just some, not most, are really just looking for trouble for troubles sake. And if the consequences are tuff enough they would find an easier way to get their thrills. I'm all for people fighting for a good cause, but this is just drunken swaggering with a chip on their shoulder. Maybe this has become like an itch- the more you scratch it the worse it gets. That is the more testosterone and chest thumping and confrontational, maybe, more of this type will be attracted to the situation. I say hit the perps hard, fast and early, leave the more peaceful, and responsible ones, that clean up and keep it in their yard, and identify who these people are and what motivates them.
Mary Dander April 23, 2012 at 03:46 AM
How disgusting. I saw some pics on flicker and they were disgusting. Sexual in nature and fights. I had friends here from the East Coast for the weekend and they wanted to see the May 4 Memorial and afterwards we went downtown and we saw and heard the events. These are our future leaders? I would have never acted that way while at Boston College. I can not imagine these parents of these college students will be pleased. C'mon everyone,I was 22 once. You can have fun before finals but this is ridiculous. Now I wonder when the neighborhood will be cleaned up? Maybe those "children" can comeback and clean their trash up. And they had no respect for the police-thank goodness my children are 6 and under.
Chris (Kit) Myers April 23, 2012 at 04:13 AM
Ms. Dander: I walked down College Street late this morning. Almost all the clean-up was being done by older persons.
Sarah Skibiski April 23, 2012 at 12:16 PM
I have to agree with Chris. Blame should be placed with the actual people who break the law. I don't think using homeowners as the whipping boys would fix anything.
jt April 23, 2012 at 02:39 PM
bend the facts much? I don't have a problem with "homeowners" - but these houses are not occupied by homeowners, regardless I don't even have a problem with "property owners" with licensed properties that are MAINTAINED and OPERATED following city regulations + ORDINANCES. The point is that these properties are occupied on the roof and in some photography those roofs were collapsed or partially failing due to the load. You are telling me that the city and the owners are not responsible for how their property is used or destroyed? Would you want to be responsible for someone falling and becoming paralyzed? Sounds like you think the owners should let their occupants crawl like ants collapsing their roofs? I don't want to speak for Chris but he doesn't suggest that he would allow this to occur with his properties. I think anyone who is negligent can and should be a whipping boy + fined for this- that includes the property owners that allow this activity to occur every year. The City isn't doing its job and should revoke every housing license on that street that was involved and level them to the ground. Infact any sponsers, students, bottle throwers, property owners, university officials should be fined BIG TIME and we should put that money into EDUCATING KIDS BETTER EARLY ON or our future will be pretty dim... can't see the forest for the trees.
Chris (Kit) Myers April 23, 2012 at 09:11 PM
Drunken chaos is in no way the fault of a landlord. It is not as if someone were pouring them drinks. I will not go into a diatribe about alcohol other than to say that it can be so destructive in so many ways. I can't imagine why a god would have it in his/her/its world.
h April 23, 2012 at 11:42 PM
KSU needs to take responsibility for their students and create an organized end of the year activity for students as other colleges have. it can include all class-levels in some format. there could perhaps also be fines for illegal or inappropriate behavior during school. KSU could work with student housing landlords to come up with a plan to minimize partying during the school year and especially during May Day. It has traditionally happened in an area that is soon to be turned into part of the new 'corridor' so the coordination of eliminating the May Day 'Mayhem' and creating a new 'May Day Madness' is well-timed. Other colleges have competitions between fraternities/sororities where the underclassmen run everything and the seniors have to come up with a predetermined way to show their talents. i.e., gladiator fights, dance offs, singing competitions, food drives, frat football games, powderpuff football, etc. individual parties would occur, but it could be made illegal to gather in groups larger than a certain number, perhaps 100 during the end of the year without a permit. by the way...has everyone seen the lovely videos of the girl who decided to strip and the one video you can hear her screaming? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwSSAgG3OEo&feature=related where is she now....??? I just see this May Day disaster turning into another 'Kent State' event.....and nobody wants that.
h April 24, 2012 at 12:01 AM
Chris, and All Others, Before anyone starts ranting and biting each others faces off of God Opinions, here is a link to answer Chris' question: http://abidinglife.com/2009/mike/why-did-god-create-alcohol/ That being said for those who are Christians and want to believe that way, and not being said for those who are not / do not. And as a landlord myself, I would find it extremely difficult to hold off a crowd of 2000-3000 drunks who show up 'religiously' every year on the same block regardless of who lives in the houses. Especially when you consider that many if not most college students move out of those houses every year so the landlord would have no recourse upon the renters for holding such a party at the end of their lease. The damage done would far outweigh the security deposit. Besides, this event has outgrown the individual renters in the area. It doesnt matter who lives in the area currently used for May Day partying, the party will happen anyway until it is made to cease and desist by those larger and more in charge than the landlords.
Mary Dander April 24, 2012 at 12:17 AM
Chris, I really feel bad that the older adults were cleaning this up. I am all for anyone having a good time but just be respectful of your surroundings. I think the college students should have spent Sunday cleaning up-after all, they made the mess. No reason to trash Kent. And thank you to the Kent Police Dept, and others etc..for being there. You have my utmost respect.
jt April 24, 2012 at 03:44 AM
Fact> maintaining the safety of the property is the landlord's responsibility. These parties and the offenses are not a random occurrence and are predictable and no policy change has occurred. Fact > the landlords in question do not step up to the plate or even try to deal with this. Why? Because people who rent here party here and they know it and cash in on it. Show me even one landlord that actually cares that owns one of these properties. You're telling me the landlords don't have any responsibility- should the city of kent and it's tax payers have to deal with this when the landlords don't care and/or deal with this head on? Again- level any house or revoke any license that has a negligent owner. I would say go for the jugular here- massively fine everyone involved and you will see change- I don't know why everyone is so afraid of the truth. Additionally, Red bull is profiting off of this- this is planned meyham- everyone involved is culpable. Blaming students or rioters is not specific enough- This is a systemic problem and no one really wants to do what's right. Red bull should be polishing every little grain of asphalt on that road and be putting up gold plated stop signs a week from now. Think about it this way if you go in to renew your drivers license and they find that you are no longer able to control a vehicle because of vision they revoke or suspend your license. You might try to correct your vision. Negligence here is with the health department and the owners.
Chris (Kit) Myers April 25, 2012 at 01:05 AM
Fact> Unless it is in a lease a landlord has no control over a tenant drinking on the premises. Fact> Nothing a landlord does can stop a person from drinking on the street. Anywhere. College Street, Pioneer Avenue, Franklin Avenue... anywhere. Fact> The health department has no jurisdiction over drunkenness on the street. Fact> Losing a driver's license because of a vision problem is the fault of the operator himself/herself using poor judgment. It is noone else's fault. Fact> If you get smashed on the street, strip, throw bottles, or fight, it is noone's fault but your own if you get nailed. Fact> Kent must not allow unofficial street parties. It must issue permits and make the organizers responsible for any costs incurred for police, fire, or damage to city property. It's so easy to blame landlords for everything. Is it a landlord's fault if someone has a meth lab in a house. Is it the landlord's fault if someone murders someone in a house. I could these things right here in the duplex where I live. Should my landlady spend twenty-four hours a day watching my every move? Should she watch me everytime I pull out of my driveway? Is that what you expect of every landlord? Is a landlord his tenant's keeper? Or do you just think so when it's College Street? How about Silver Meadows? How about the Lake Street Apartments? How about Silver Oaks? How about single family homes and condos that are rented? I suggest you study the Ohio Landlord/Tenant Law. .
jt April 25, 2012 at 04:17 AM
I'm not talking about controlling drinking. I'm talking about willful negligence of the landlords that believe they have no CONTROL over their property or don't even care to have any control. It's called an ANALOGY- simply stated for you. IF YOU LOSE YOUR VISION, ERGO, CONTROL OF YOU VEHICLE YOU LOSE YOUR LICENSE. :: IF YOU LOSE CONTROL OF YOUR PROPERTY (as you and others said it is impossible to control these events) AND IT IS (routinely, every year) DRAINING VALUABLE CITY RESOURCES THEN YOU SHOULD LOSE YOUR BOARDING HOUSE LICENSE. No one needs to monitor these properties the PROOF is all over facebook twitter instagram YouTube etc. Where people were calling for riots. If the landlords aren't doing anything to remedy this then why should any taxpayer's money be spent sending any cops there in the first place. Let these students tear these houses apart. The landlord is not his tenant's Keeper, I never said that, I am simply saying the landlord is responsible for the property. Your definition of responsibility is collecting a check. This policy should be for any property that violates city ordinances regularly regardless of location in the city. It just so happens at a chronic issue repeatedly occurs on College. If you keep running into a wall the smart thing to do is find a different way. You are suggesting to continue to fine a few students that cause trouble when more will just take their place next year. Again you are afraid to actually deal with the real issue.
jt April 25, 2012 at 06:36 PM
I've enjoyed this Chris thanks for a good argument! This is just my opinion and I am sure I am being extreme and off base on things, but I think if people want change they need to think about what things everyone can do to make this event less of a yearly disappointment.
Chris (Kit) Myers April 25, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Amen to that, jt!
Jack Kelly April 26, 2012 at 02:47 PM
"KSU needs to take responsibility for their students..." People like you accusing KSU and telling them KSU needs to "take responsibility for their students" need to get off their high horse. This is an OFF-CAMPUS party that was not a KSU-function. Do some of you THINK before you type? These party-goers are ADULTS. Therefore, THEY are responsible for their OWN actions. Trying to pin this on KSU or anyone else is simply ridiculous, if not stupid.
h April 26, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Jack, I did not accuse anyone of being personally responsible for anyone else. I simply suggested that ksu should organize **like some other colleges do**in order to avoid this behavior by what is a large group of their students. My suggestion suggest being proactive before someone really gets hurt. Why wait until someone is dead until something is organized to freTs a civil peaceful organized activity for the end of the year? Why continue the assinine ksu attitude? Why not be proactive? Also, why not ask questions of each other without being negative and accusatory?

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