The aftermath of the now infamous Keene Pumpkinfest riot has been honestly surreal.
We have had nothing but fog since the riots and it feels like hanging around with that fog are mixed sentiments and confusion. Everyone seems unsure about the future. Things were so clear and simple Friday, and now it is just the opposite. Just yesterday, my friends and I were crossing the street and were yelled at by who I assume was a town resident. “Good job punks,” he yelled. “You fucked everything up!”
There have been great attempts by the school administration to make amends, both with the town and those students who were not involved in the violence. Keene students went out into the town and had cleared much of the trash up by early Sunday morning.
President Huot held a panel in the Mabel Brown Room on Monday, a chance for students and the community of Keene to tell their stories and voice their opinions on both the events and moving forward. Nine hundred students and 100 faculty showed up, unfortunately I could not attend due to classes. Everybody seems rightfully traumatized, and it is not unreasonable that anti-KSC sentiments have surfaced in the town. One of my professors was telling me that he and other faculty had gone to church Sunday and had been verbally scolded.
There have also been large scale attempts to identify those involved. The school is really reaching out to those with images of the chaos, and so far many have come forth to help identify the perpetrators. This is a great step in the right direction. I can tell you that honestly, many of us feel just awful about what happened, even those of us who did not attend parties or riot. Many are doing their best to right the wrongs committed and help restore the good name of both Keene State College and the city itself.
This is not how we want the nation and the media, who are analyzing the riots (many incorrectly) to perceive both us and New Hampshire as a whole. This was a complex and confusing situation. It is not right to assume a single cause when there were so many involved. I even saw a headline that stated, “White Kids Riot Over Pumpkins.” Some of the ignorance is stunning. Some media groups have compared the weekend to the violence in Ferguson, Mo., which is completely unacceptable. Just because two events involving rioting (on different levels) and police occured within the same relative time frame, does not mean they are comparable. The events in Ferguson were far worse and stemmed from completely different causes. Regardless, it has been interesting to see how the media and the students are responding. An interesting stance among some students is that the police overreacted and the use of riot control aggravated the crowd into rioting. I can’t say I agree.
As far as the FinnaParty group is concerned, I was not at any of the parties so I did not witness them. But I do recall hearing people talking about a group like that before Pumpkinfest and certainly afterwards. The fact that a group exists that promotes out of control partying and irresponsibility hearkens back to the point of my Op/Ed article. Their twitter feed is deplorable. Some posts include, “FinnaRage Presents: Jumanji 2.0” and “The media twist every story.” They are not students here. They do not live here. They are not feeling the effects of what happened, and what they most likely helped cause. They have reTweeted statuses such as, “we have the dopest video of keene state, shit you wont see on the news.” Does anybody have a conscience anymore?
It is important to remember that a good many of us students were just as much victims as everyone else. That being said, we are all working toward making amends with all involved and helping lift the clouds from the Cheshire Valley once again.
- Keene Police seek public’s help in identifying Pumpkinfest rioters
- Op/Ed: Drinking, lack of respect, fueled Keene Pumpkinfest riot
- What happened at #Pumpkinfest in Keene?
- Governor, college president on ‘irresponsible’ and ‘inexcusable’ behavior at #Pumpkinfest
Rick Kfoury is a freshman at Keene State college studying history and secondary education. His hobbies include photography and railfanning. He has written and self-published a detective-noir novel, ‘Queen City’ set in Manchester. Kfoury hails from Raymond, NH.