Brian Clemmenson

Equinox Staff


It was an email that many Keene State College students dreaded seeing in their MyKSC accounts: the email from The Office of Residential Life telling students that the guest policy for Pumpkin Fest weekend had been changed to one guest per student. However, the change seemed to have paid off as it cut down the number of incidents that occurred on campus over the weekend.

On an average weekend this semester at KSC, 27 incident reports are filed over the eight weekends before Pumpkin Fest. According to Ethan Kipnis, associate director of Campus Safety this year, Campus Safety documented 62 total incident reports for the Thursday night – Sunday of Pumpkin Fest this year, compared to 68 total incident reports for the same period of last year’s Pumpkin Fest. Data released from Campus Safety Director Amanda Warman during her Intro to Criminal Justice class,  shows there were also 141 arrests and only 21 were KSC students.

One of the attributing factors pointing to why the numbers are down could be the guest policy change. Nate Gordon, coordinator of the First Year Experience said, “I’m a firm believer that the guest policy helped, reducing the number of damages and incidents. Gordon added, “I know that there were incidents that happened. Some of them were a result of guests and some weren’t.”

According to the Student Conduct Office and Coordinator of Student Conduct Mark Schmidl-Gagne, 18 of the 27 incidents involved guests. One thing that stuck out in Schmidl-Gagne’s mind was, “I was very impressed with how low the numbers were related to a person having too many guests. Some of the larger incidents there was a party going on and the reports read very clearly that there were these students in the room and there was one guest per student. Nobody had three or four.” One situation involved somebody signing in a guest under their name for a friend. In that case some of those situations contributed to the counted 18 incidents.

Some incidences that occurred over Pumpkin Fest weekend were alcohol violations, and someone having too many guests. Schmidl-Gagne also said, “Graffiti was done in one of the buildings over the weekend, somebody broke the glass in one of the exits doors over the weekend in one of the Owl’s Nest. That situation got documented.”

If a student was documented for having alcohol, they were disciplined under the guidelines of standard sanctions. Schmidl-Gagne stated, “If this is a first time violation a student will be placed on college prohibition for three months and will be expected to complete an educational program. If they don’t they’ll receive an additional three months of prohibition. That’s a standard sanction.”

Because the Student Conduct Office is working with a new computer data system, Schmidl-Gagne was not able to compare the nature of the incidents to last year’s. However, he mentioned, “The nature of incidents have not been as ugly. When I say that there has not been a whole bunch of physical assaults. The number of vandalism incidents were not as big on campus.” As for the amount of damages that occurred over the weekend according to Director of the Office of Residential Life Kent Drake-Deese, “The total damages are still being calculated. Drake-Deese added, “I think it was better than other years. Maybe the guest policy did pay off.” Another aspect that Drake-Deese pointed out of the incidents occurring in the Resident Halls, “The guests were still the issue for most the incidents again. The types of incidents that occurred in the Resident Halls were drinking and a lot intoxication and damages. A few examples of the damages that occurred might have been torn down exits signs, broken lights, lots of screens out of the windows, and a few holes in the wall from punches.

Without having the official numbers, if Drake-Deese had to pick a building with the most damages he said, “Holloway.” The official total of damages should be available sometime this week. However, the total cost of the damages will not be available until all maintenance work and repairs are complete.   As for the guests during next year’s Pumpkin Fest weekend, two members of the Residential Life Staff Gordon and Drake-Deese seem to think that guests will probably still be allowed. Gordon said, “I don’t see us going back to two. I would say if anything that we would stick to one. That is my assumption. I don’t think we will be increasing because of how busy the weekend is.” For Drake-Deese he stated, “It is probably a little premature to decide. If I had to guess it would probably stay at one.” The good news for students is that the behavior this year over Pumpkin Fest was improved from previous years, and as of right now students will continue to have one guest for Pumpkin Fest.


Brian Clemmenson can be contacted at


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