Students weigh in on significance of Kent State shootings

Sarah Spaulding

For some, May 4 remembrance is just a day off of classes

Forty years ago today, Kent State students gathered on Blanket Hill with the intentions of changing the world; little did they know the impact they would create. May 4, 1970, was a defining day for the university and the world, but some students feel it’s just another page in the history books.

Junior psychology major Reginald Motley believes the students protesting the Vietnam War were wrongly attacked and whether or not students attend any events in commemoration of May 4, they should be aware of what happened.

“I think it was vicious and brutal on the part of the National Guard because they were protesting something that was actually peaceful,” he said. “So, even though I probably won’t be a part of the memorial service, I still believe that they were fighting for a rational cause.”

The events of May 4 are surrounded by controversy, but some students aren’t clear on the basic facts of what occurred that day.

“It was such a major event and shootings have happened at other schools, but I think ours was the biggest because it was government-related,” said Brittany Bates, senior fashion merchandising major. “I don’t think a lot of people understand what happened. I think it should become more important to Kent State students just because we go to this school, and it’s a major part of our history.”

Some professors are giving students the day off to remember the events that occurred, but some students believe that opportunity is taken advantage of rather than honored.

“I don’t think students are as educated on the situation,” said Olivia Schroll, junior visual communication design major. “It’s more of just a class day off than realizing what actually happened and remembering the events that took place.”

The Special Collections and Archives department in the library houses 300-cubic feet worth of material on the events that unfolded on and around May 4, 1970.

According to university archivist Stephen Paschen, the collection contains everything from newspaper clippings to court documents to audio-visual content.

Paschen encourages everyone to view pieces of the collection and educate themselves on the biggest event in Kent State’s history.

“If you go someplace else and say that ‘I go to Kent State,’ it’s pretty common that someone’s going to ask you about this,” he said. “So, we think it is a good thing to know something about and realize that the students that these things happened to 40 years ago were Americans and not that much different from where students are now.”

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reporter Sarah Spaulding

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