The streets of Keene felt and looked much quieter this past weekend, October 17, than they have in years past. Mid-October in Keene has been notorious for its once annual Pumpkin Festival where beautifully carved pumpkins lined Main Street for all to enjoy.

Restaurants and businesses thrived with constant lines out the door. People travelled from all over to see the streets of Keene lit up with pumpkins, enjoy tasty fall treats and get in the fall spirit.

This past weekend was the first weekend in 25 years that Keene wasn’t the location for the highly-anticipated Pumpkin Festival. As nearly everyone in the area knows, the Keene City Council rejected the festival’s annual permit for 2015 and festival organizers had no choice but to move elsewhere, hosting the festival in Laconia, N.H. As with nearly everyone else, the Equinox is saddened by the discontinuation of the Pumpkin Festival. For many of us, previous Pumpkin Festivals were some of our most memorable experiences at Keene State College. Part of being a Keene State student is engaging in the fun festivities surrounding the Pumpkin Festival. While we realize some students clearly took things too far, many of us saw the festival as an opportunity to engage with the community and participate in some innocent fall fun. There is no arguing that things went haywire last year. Everything seemed to spiral out of control and by no means do we defend the actions of anyone who participated in riotous behavior. However, as a result of this barbaric behavior, many of us are the innocent ones suffering the consequences.

In order to eliminate future riots from occurring, the college has had to take some extreme measures. For example, although there was no Pumpkin Festival this past weekend, on-campus students were not allowed to have any guests. It extents even further than that though. The college put a rule in place that prevents on-campus students from having guests Pumpkinfest weekend, the weekend after and Halloween weekend. Although there may be some validity in this notion, we would like to argue that the majority of students are being punished by a minority of students’ actions. We fully understand the college is under a lot of scrutiny and needs to ensure the safety of the students so they create rules and regulations as a precaution.

We believe the student body at Keene State should be stepping up to the plate and acting like adults. Once we begin to act like the respectful adults we are, college officials and community members will take notice of this. When we begin conducting ourselves in a manner that is reasonable, we will gain the privileges we desire. In order for this to be possible, both parties need to be engaged. It starts with us, the college students. We need to rebuild our reputations and show that we deserve to be treated like adults. Once we begin acting like adults, those in charge need to make notice of this behavior change.  This is when they can incorporate some of our privileges back. Instead of making resident assistants practically security guards, students should be given some level of trust. Treating students like babies will only cause them to rebel more. The behavior seen last year during this time was inexcusable. Unfortunately many of us take the burden for that type of reckless behavior. This should not be the case. People should do their best to look at each student at Keene State and see us as individuals instead of grouping us all together. We believe many students chose to act out in such monstrous behavior because they felt a thrill in challenging authority. This should never be tolerated.

As long as authority figures have reasonable expectations, we as students should always be respectful of their concerns. We believe this is something our generation struggles with, we want to stand up against the mindset that all authority is bad. In essence, it’s a two-way street. We as students need to work on regaining the trust and respect of the people in this community and those in charge of making our rules. In return, those in charge of us need to notice our changes and little by little, give us the privileges we deserve. Losing pumpkin fest was certainly a wake up call for us all. We realized that our actions do have consequences.

Part of our identity as Keene State students was lost last year on that mid-October weekend. Experiencing pumpkinfest was once a huge part of being a KSC student. Unfortunately, we are the ones left picking up the pieces but we believe we can put those pieces back together into something meaningful.

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