In the City of Keene, mid-October is a highly anticipated time of the year for both community members and the Keene State College body alike. In fact, it even extends much further than just the people who make up the City of Keene.
Each year Pumpkin Fest attracts thousands of people from all over New England, some even farther. Pumpkin Fest 2014 was certainly one for the books and we don’t mean that in a very good way. As a result of an outbreak of chaotic and riotous behavior, a substantial bill of $90,000 was racked up. That $90,000 is made up mostly of overtime fees from the police forces and other safety services, according to an Equinox article.
The Equinox would like to first and foremost say that we in no way condone the unacceptable behavior that took place during Pumpkin Fest. With that said, we do not believe that the student body is entirely responsible for covering the remaining fees of the $90,000 bill.
Yes, students here at Keene State College are at fault for some of the damages that took place. It is without arguement that hundreds, if not thousands of students from other colleges and universities made their way up to Keene to partake in the festivities that later on got out of hand.
There are multiple people at fault for what happened during that weekend. But placing most blame on the KSC student body and the college itself is not a fair accusation to make. A large sum of the students who acted out inappropriately were identified by police and either arrested or suspended from the college. The college worked with the police to track down and remove the students who made poor decisions at the festival and as a result, these students are no longer a part of our campus community.
So how is it justified that the remainder of the student body, who most likely did not engage in the riots, is asked to contribute to this enormous bill? We believe that students who want to see the festival continue to exist should have the option to make a donation to the festival and contribute if they choose.
However, we do not see it logical that every student be forced to donate. Some students were not even on campus that weekend, some refrained from consuming any alcohol, some remained in the footprint of the festival where none of the riots took place. It is not a reasonable solution to hold every single Keene State College student accountable for what happened on those nights.
Yes, we are one campus. But, ultimately, we are all individuals who made decisions for ourselves that night. Some of us made better decisions than others. Those who made terrible decisions got the punishment they deserved and are no longer permitted on the KSC campus. Those of us who are left most likely did not support the behavior that occurred, so we should not be the ones asked to pay the debt.
Technically speaking, the college is not even associated with the festival, so why should it fall in our hands to make payments towards it? Associating the college with the debt makes innocent students responsible.
In summation, The Equinox believes that KSC as a whole should not be responsible for the behaviors of many who no longer attend the school or were not even students here to begin with. We want to move forward like this and do our part by making sure next year is much safer.