May 4 Task Force helps students gain historic perspective on current events

Matt Merchant

The events of May 4, 1970 are engrained in the history of Kent State. Five years after the four students were killed on campus by members of the National Guard, the May 4 Task Force was created.

“The goal of the Task Force is to remember the people who lost their lives in order to make the world a better place,” said Task Force President Alan Dufner, a junior double philosophy and physics major. “From May 4 to Black Live Matter campaigns, even to Bernie Sanders, it’s important to recognize that people are working to raise awareness.”

Every Thursday at 7 p.m., students can attend the organization’s meeting in the resource room on the first floor of the library. With roughly 10-15 regular members attending, as well as the occasional alumna or alumnus from the 1970s, Dufner said meetings are pretty casual. All students are welcome and can expect to hear the opinions of older students and guest speakers — but it’s expected that even guests and new attendees participate in the discussions.

Unlike other student groups, Dufner said the Task Force is not an activist organization. They promote activism amongst students, and advocate for discussion on topics related to peaceful protest and social awareness. At meetings, discussion on current events are always linked to the events of 1970. Education about non-violent protests, supporting survivors of the 1970 shooting and promoting events are top priorities of the organization.

Each spring the university hosts the May 4 commemoration ceremony organized by the Task Force. In 2015, President Beverly Warren became the first university president to attend and speak at the events.

Contact Matt Merchant at [email protected].