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It comes but once a year, Kent State’s annual ‘College Fest,’ where College Street, located right off Kent State University, is closed down for party-goers to have a block party. However, this was not your typical Saturday at Kent State, nor was it your typical annual ‘College Fest,’ as things spiraled completely out of control.
The party got started Saturday morning as thousands of students started drinking, going to house parties and filling up the street. Even though there were police officers monitoring the area, as the day wore on and the rowdy crowd continued to grow, police officers became outnumbered, and were actually cornered and surrounded by drunken students. Officers were forced to leave the area because it was unsafe, and they came under increasing pressure as kids were throwing rocks, bricks and bottles at them.
At around 7 p.m. the Kent Police Department had to call in the Metro SWAT team and gather more police from the Hudson Police Department. It then returned to the out-of-control party with face masks, shields, Hummer trucks and tear gas. Tear gas grenades were thrown by officers into the street, helping to restore some order, as students had to flee the area.
The party was located on East College Avenue, and the SWAT team members lined the street located between South Depeyster Street and South Lincoln Street. According to videos taken by students, which have quickly leaked onto the internet, there have been estimates of approximately 30 to 50 members of the police forces and SWAT Team.
According to NewsNet5, Kent police said the city used a “measured response” against the violent and riotous people so order could be restored. Additionally, as a response to the craziness that ensued on Saturday, Kent State University responded to the non sanctioned event via twitter: @ksunews: “The university is closely monitoring today’s events & supports the city in its efforts to keep celebrations safe for everyone involved.”
Several fights ensued, which led to several medical response teams going to the scene. As a result of the incident, there have been 33 arrests so far. To make up a few of the arrests, eight were for failure to disperse, three were for OVI’s, or Operating a Vehicle Impaired, and seven were for underage drinking.
As more information is released and more videos taken by students leak onto the internet, the number of arrests is expected to climb as student identities are revealed. And, even at one point, someone started shooting a gun into the air. No one was shot but the individual has yet to be identified.
The last time Kent State has seen such chaos and extreme measures taken by authorities was the Kent State Shooting on May 4, 1970. In just thirteen seconds, the Ohio National Guard fired 67 rounds, killing four students and injuring nine others.
The Kent State’s ‘College Fest’ on Saturday, has by now become known to the general public across the nation, meriting responses. One woman responded to NewsNet5’s article by stating, “It is very sad that a time for remembering the event in 1970 that happened on this KSU campus should turn into a similar situation which occurred then.
At that time a peaceful demonstration turned into a day when 4 students were shot to death by the National Guard. Students should be respecting the lives of those who died peacefully instead of being rowdy enough to have law enforcement intervene. Shame on you if you were included in those causing this disturbance.”
In order to watch some of the videos that have been released to the public so far, go to any of the following sites: