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Kent Students Detail Chaos at College Fest

KENT, Ohio — College fun turned dangerous in Kent Saturday night. Riot police were called in to end the partying, but not before taking dozens of people to jail.

College Fest has become a rite of spring for Kent State University students. Despite the cold weather Saturday, an estimated 3,000 people joined the party of East College Avenue, just two blocks from campus.

Kent State student Christina Papcun said it was packed with people.

“There was just a lot of bodies everywhere. Porches were filled. Streets were filled. It was a muddy mess because of the rain, but it was a good time,” she said.

Logan Schildhouse is a former KSU student who lives on East College Avenue. He says College Fest is all about music and having fun.

“People wake up, they start drinking and they start playing music. Everyone wants to have fun and that’s really what College Fest is honestly about,” he said.

But, that fun turned dangerous early in the day when Kent police had reports of multiple fights and bottle throwing.

Jaymes Cartwright witnessed the trouble.

“Down the street I saw a few fights and a couple bottles being thrown and police stepped in and took some action,” he said.

Kent police were quick to bring in help. Deputies from the Portage County Sheriff’s Office and members of the Metro Swat Team responded. Around 6 p.m., smoke bombs and pepper gas were used to disperse the crowd.

“Everyone felt it because the wind blew the tear gas all throughout the street, and basically, you had to get shelter or you were getting teared up,” Cartwright said.

Schildhouse felt the police sent a message by using the smoke bombs and tear gas. By 8 p.m., police had shut down College Fest.

“This was the quickest that it has ever been cleared out on College Fest, honestly, in the past four years of me being here,” Schildhouse said.

Police say 33 people were arrested. They are facing charges ranging from felonious assault, disorderly conduct, public intoxication to failure to disperse.

They accused are to appear in court later this week.