Throwback Thursday: White outlines basis of May 4 plans; Services to remain in ‘family’

Bob Downing

President Robert I. White said three limitations must be placed on any and all activities to be scheduled between May 1 and May 4 on campus.

At his afternoon press conference. Dr. White called, first, for ”fitting memorial recognition.” Second, he said, “We face the need to keep Kent State University in existence.”

Finally, Dr. White said the university community must face “the stark, brutal need to continue open and operating as a university.”

Citing the report from the May 4 Recognition Committee, Dr. White emphasized that the services should be limited to the Kent State family. 

He said, “This is not to say that others have not the right, perhaps even the obligation, to recognize the meaningfulness of the moment, but rather that this university finds it can best insure the dignity and integrity the occasion surely necessitates through a program focused primarily on the immediate university family.”

Also, Dr. White said that outsiders would endanger the continuation of the institution. He also stated that some outsiders are definitely trying to shut the university down.

Dr. White continued, “To be perfectly realistic, we would not be permitted to invite outsiders.” The university stance and the directives of the Board of Trustees limit the May 4 activites to within the university family, according to Dr. White.

He also emphasized that other government agencies would intercede in the situation here if a threat to life or property developed. 

The program scheduled for the memorial services exists with compromises, according to Dr. White. However, he called the program “broad, carefully planned, thoughtful, contemporary…and, hopefully, a rallying point for all.”

Further and more detailed plans will be released in the near future, according to Dr. White, who released his comments in a paper entitled, “In the family.” Dr. White said the events will be scheduled only with a feeling of reflective mediation and the theme of dedication to peace. 

The May 4 memorial services have, according to Dr. White, drawn a response of “wishing us well in our private task of going through the quarter.” He added that some people may not approve of the program, but they do not disapprove either.

Dr. White said that security for this period of time is focused on certain contingencies. He called the security plans “sensitive, intelligently handled, and moderate enough so as not to add to the tension of the situation.”

Security will be based on “restraint, together with upholding the law, ” according to Dr. White. 

Dr. White also said that university reliance will rest with the Ohio Highway Patrol if the situation goes beyond the capabilities of campus security forces.

The improvement of communication links between the university, city, county and state officials will help ease any potentially dangerous situation, according to Dr. White.