Local businesses deal with trend toward combative behavior

Jon Carey

Equinox Staff


The recent altercations taking place around the Keene community raise the question of what influences these aggressive behaviors and if that violence contributes to the late night chaos.

The collegiate term “Thirsty Thursday” has established itself as almost a holiday for college students who want to celebrate the end of a week. You will find students who respect the sanctity of having a good time, and on the other hand you witness those who cannot handle the responsibilities.

With local businesses flourishing all around the Keene community, selling to the collegiate demographic proves to be a successful business tactic. With recent altercations happening so close to the KSC community, some students might be taking advantage of the freedoms that they are given.

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Just last week, the Keene Sentinel reported two Keene State College students being accused of assaulting a resident assistant and a third student with alcohol possession. These students are facing charges after Keene Police responded to the altercation at Randall Hall on Sunday, March 25.

The Sentinel reported the resident assistant was pushed and the door closed on the person’s foot, but further details have not been released. The Campus Safety log reported, “RA called to say that he had an issue outside a room on the third floor. The RA started to say something until the phone went dead.”

It was reported that Campus Safety was called after it was discovered that these students had alcohol in their possession, and one student is facing charges of simple assault, illegal alcohol possession, possession of false identification, and refusing to be processed, according to what Keene Police Lt. Steven Stewart told the Sentinel.

Local bars in Keene have noticed disturbances around town but one local bar owner said he has been very fortunate when it comes to chaos caused by rowdy customers.

“We’ve been open for the last seven years and we’re lucky to have only had a handful of altercations that had to be dealt with either by the staff or local authorities,” McCue’s Billiards and Sports Lounge owner Tom Nephew said.

However, Nephew said he has noticed an increase in the number of altercations happening.

“Over the years we have noticed an increase in aggressive behavior and when those instances occur we tend to get the local authorities involved,” Nephew said. “If we ever come across someone who is acting in a violent manner we kick them out and don’t allow them back in, this way our customers know the consequences if you act out inappropriately.“

Nephew also mentioned how violent activities are not associated with the college demographics, but derived from a history the bar has with local residents.

“We witness college students doing a lot of immature acts around town but when it comes to violent altercations during late nights we typically attribute local residents to that because there’s a history, and students sometimes get wrongfully accused for that,” Nephew said.

Employed students in the Keene area say they come into contact with “rowdy” intoxicated partiers almost every time they’re on shift, and they never know what to expect when someone gets emotional.

“Most of the time they just make a fool of themselves and we just wait until they compose themselves before we ask them to leave,” Panera Bread employee and KSC senior William Waitt said.

Some local business employees in Keene said no altercations have surfaced in their establishment, just rowdy students enjoying a good deal.

“We don’t really get a lot of the high commotion other bars sometimes get,” 21 Bar & Grille employee Kim Avrams said. “Sometimes on Monday nights when we have drink specials and students can get a good deal, it can occasionally get busy.”

With late night food options around the center of Keene, delivery drivers seem to get the most action when it comes to interacting with intoxicated students. Former Pizza Hut delivery driver, Chris Ordway, said for the most part people just want their food, but there are always the select few who can’t help but start a fight.

“I was rarely on late night delivery only because I know how hectic it can get between students who have had too much to drink,” Ordway said. “I’ve heard stories of altercations between delivery drivers and heavily intoxicated students. I’m just glad I wasn’t delivering on those nights.”

Anyone who witnesses any criminal or violent activities either on the Keene State College campus or at any of the surrounding areas are strongly urged to contact Keene State College Campus Safety or the Keene Police Dept.


Jon Carey can be contacted at jcarey@keene-equinox.com.

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