Statements from President Huot Regarding Keene Pumpkin Festival
Keene Police Department issued a press release on Wednesday, which includes several images of people who were involved in the destructive behavior during Keene Pumpkin Festival. You can view the release at the bottom of this message. Included in the press release are instructions on how to contact KPD, when an identity can be shared.
Keene State College continues to work closely with city officials, college and university partners in New England, our students, faculty and staff, on identifying and holding people accountable for their actions. Several identifications have been made. An update will be shared once more is available.
Keene State College
Statement from Tuesday, October 21
Last night we held an all-campus meeting to begin the healing process and discuss how we can move forward together. To my amazement, about 900 students and 100 faculty and staff members turned out, spoke up, and joined the conversation. It was an important step in the right direction. Student after student expressed the desire to make amends with the Keene community and those invested in the college.
As I've said before, please be assured that we are actively taking steps to hold individuals accountable. As pertinent updates are available, we will reach out to those affected. I thank the many campus and community members who have demonstrated their unwavering support for Keene State College. Below are the remarks I offered at the beginning of our meeting, as well as those of Bobby Graham, student body president.
"Let me open tonight’s dialogue with the following thoughts. Our city suffered a terrible event on Saturday and we own a piece of what happened. Not only do we own it, we must address it. I am heartened by the tremendous turn out tonight of students, faculty, and staff. Students, I want you to look around and notice the members of the administration, our campus security, the faculty and the staff who are joining you tonight in support of you and in earnest desire to help you be the catalyst for meaningful change.
I want to recognize the countless members of the College’s administration, staff, and faculty who worked tirelessly to prepare for the weekend and were there to help keep you safe. I am extending a very special thanks to our Campus Safety Director and her team.
I was so heartened when I was out on Appian Way on Sunday morning by the outpouring of students joining in the effort to clean up the mess that was made and help restore the damage done in the city neighborhoods. And, how proud I am that you went to the local businesses and expressed your sorrow about what happened.
You are the ones that can lead significant change. In fact, without your commitment to that change, it will be slow and largely ineffective. Your presence here tonight gives me hope that change is possible.
You are part of a great college. We were a strong and vibrant college on Friday morning and we are still that tonight. We are focused on your education, classes, and programs. We will deliver on our promise to provide you with an excellent education.
Yet, our name has been tarnished and the citizens of this community want answers. We will pull through this, and we will be stronger for having had the courage to stand together and do what will be necessary to address why last Saturday’s mayhem occurred. I have great confidence in you. I took this job for you. I am going to do everything I can to help lead you down the path forward."
Keene State College
Student Body President Bobby Graham:
The incidents that happened last Saturday in our community can easily be summed up as shameful, embarrassing, and destructive to our college community and our self-image as a whole. It is easy for us to point fingers between each other; and to blame those visitors who came to our home with the intent of ruining all we take pride in. It is easy to retreat behind the scenes out of shame.
While very many of us were not the perpetrators of destruction and did not take part abhorrent activities that occurred it is an inevitable fact that we each share the burden of these events equally regardless of if some of us feel it differently than others. These events did happen and we cannot erase or mask reality. Many of you are probably wondering how this is going to affect your time here at Keene State College and your futures as a whole. While we do not know what will happen we do know we have a duty to come together as a student body.
At Keene State College we value the importance of wisdom. I know each one of us has the ability to use our “Wisdom to make a difference” now as it is needed most. We must come together and unify, reach out to the community, and begin to rebuild.
While much of the community was subject to destruction, it is clear to see that our proud arches at the end of Appian Way stand tall and strong as a true testament to the pride and fortitude embedded among those who call themselves Keene State Owls. We cannot heal this overnight, but if we all give an effort to become invested and care as much we all do, then I can promise you all that we will restore ourselves, our community, and our name to the proper image and reputation of what it means to be a Keene State Owl.
Statement from Monday, October 20
We continue to identify individuals who were involved in the unlawful and disruptive behavior over the weekend. We have identified several individuals at this point, and we are determining their affiliation with Keene State College. We continue to work with Keene Police to gather additional information and are coordinating with other colleges and universities when students who visited from other institutions are identified. We are expediting the conduct hearing process at Keene State to impose consequences as efficiently as possible.
I am proud of the positive contributions that many of our students, faculty, and staff offered to the community over the weekend.
Keene State College
Statement from Sunday, October 19
The City of Keene and the Keene State College campus are calm and safe. Regretfully, Keene endured a great deal over this weekend. We care deeply about the citizens of Keene and our students, and we lament the impact of inexcusable behaviors on our city. I also want to share that we are appreciative of the efforts of the city over the weekend. We continue to work closely with the city to help repair damage, and find long-term solutions.
We are actively working to identify the individuals who participated in unlawful behavior, and those who are identified will be held accountable. We are reviewing images, videos, media coverage, social media postings, and information we have about off-campus residences. The most serious offenders will face interim suspension, followed by conduct action up to, and including, expulsion.
To be clear, Keene State College does not tolerate the outrageous behavior that occurred over the weekend.
Also, understand that it does not represent a great many of the students who attend this college. I am proud of the positive contributions that many of our students, faculty and staff offered to the community this weekend.
At this point in time, details about arrests and citations are being processed by the city. We will keep the public informed of our actions and the information that is available, on www.keene.edu.
Keene State College