Our View: Historic identity and perspective

Editorial Board

Summary: The history of May 4 and how it relates to Kent State is well-known to both current and former students, as well as people outside the university community. It is part of our history and we must embrace all of its aspects in order to truly understand our identity.

The events of May 4, 1970 are iconic. Though they happened 45 years ago, the events live on in newspapers, photographs, books, documentaries and audio recordings. Yes, there is murder. Yes, there are violations of free speech rights. And yes, there is controversy.

As members of the Kent State community, we understand how May 4 is an intricate piece of our identity. Whether an alumni of Kent State before 1970, a member of the 1970 campus community or the community that exists in the world of 2015, May 4 is part of who we are.

It is and always will be important to remember that four people died that day. It is also important to remember those that survived. And it is important to educate ourselves on that day, the days before and the days after. We must look at all aspects of the events in order to better understand the bigger picture. We should not judge the actions of individuals or the collective from that day 45 years ago.

This is a university that seems to foster a spirit of advocacy. Free speech rights are embraced and exercised on a daily basis by students and professors alike.

In some of the stories in our issue today, people have discussed the significance of May 4 to Kent State and whether it should still play a role in how people view the university as well as how we view it.

No matter how much time passes, we think it’s important that May 4 remains part of the identity of Kent State University. As with all tragic events, it’s important not to let the negative side of the day consume the entire identity of the university. We are May 4, but we are also more than May 4.