KSC aims to move forward after riots

PART 1: 

Keene State College students are working on moving forward to repair relationships and prevent a situation like what happened at the riots on Saturday, Oct. 18 from ever happening again.

Students are devising plans on how to restore a sense of community in Keene. Other schools that have gone through similar situations of bad publicity can offer examples of how to move forward.

Student Body President Bobby Graham, said after the clean up, “A group of about twenty students volunteered to go door-to-door to businesses on Main Street, asking if there was any way we could help with anything. The same group went to the police station and thanked the people that were there.”

Philip Bergeron / Graphic Design Editor

Philip Bergeron / Graphic Design Editor

Graham said students have been coming to him in the days since Pumpkin Fest with ideas on how to rebuild the relationship between the college and the community members and that he has been planning things as well.

An idea that Graham said he wants to implement is having fundraisers at sports games, where the ticket profits at the specific games, along with donations, will go towards offsetting costs of property damages. He said he is also working on trying to sell shirts at local vendors that read “We are Keene” for KSC students and community members, where all proceeds will also go towards offsetting costs of property damage.

Other students are coming up with plans on how to restore the relationship between community members and KSC students.

“Laura Graham [KSC student] wants to bring college students and the dance team to surrounding towns’ schools to interact with children so they’re not afraid of us and Jeff Garand [KSC student] wants to work on a fundraiser with the bookstore,” Graham said. He said these are just two ideas of many that people have proposed.

KSC seniors Emily Murphy and Tyler Fabiano have an idea of their own.

“What we want to do is have a family-style dinner in [the] ‘DC’ with students, police officers, Emergency Medical Technicians, firefighters and Campus Safety and their families,” Murphy said.

Murphy said this will give students the opportunity to have open conversation with these members of the community and their families, which will help restore the sense of community and sense of understanding.

Murphy said, “I, along with most students, still love Keene and want to do whatever we can to heal the hurt.”

Although Fabiano said he talked to police officers and it may be too soon for this right now, they are looking into planning this sometime in the future months.

The administration plans to work with the students as well.

KSC President Anne Huot said, “I’m going to work with [the students] and I’m going to help lead [the students] to generating a positive change because at the end of the day you really are the ones that have to want it to be different. We can put in place a set of rules and we’ll certainly be reviewing procedures and policies but you have to motivate a change and hold each other accountable.”

As there have been students trying to generate a positive change, there have been changes in procedure. According to an email sent from Kent Drake-Deese, associate dean of students and director of residential life, on-campus students were not allowed to have any guests daytime or nighttime during Thursday, Friday or Saturday of Halloween weekend.

Huot said KSC can also learn about what to change from schools who have already gone through situations similar to what happened in Keene on Pumpkin Fest weekend. “We need to reach out to those resources,” Huot said.

Huot said she has already been in contact with people to do just that.

Schools such as University of Connecticut [UConn], University of Massachusetts Amherst [UMass Amherst] and Pennsylvania State University have already gone through similar situations of rioting, violence and bad publicity, according to a recent report UMass Amherst released. Representatives from these schools have offered advice to KSC, other advice can be found in reports and new approaches to dealing with this type of behavior.

See next week’s issue for what

KSC can learn from other schools.


Taylor Thomas can be contacted at tthomas@keene-equinox.com

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