Truth Tribunal encourages healing for May 4 witnesses

Suzi Starheim

After 40 years, the Krause family still doesn’t know why their family member, Allison, was killed at Kent State on May 4, 1970.

In order to find out more information about why guns were fired on May 4, Laurel Krause, sister of Allison Krause, organized the Kent State Truth Tribunal.

The Truth Tribunal, which took place May 1-4 at Franklin Square Deli, located in downtown Kent, encouraged any witnesses of the shootings to finally come forward and tell their stories.

At the end of the four-day long event, Laurel Krause said she estimates the Tribunal collected between 70 and 80 testimonials.

The testimonials came from wounded students, people who witnessed the event and even professors who were at Kent State at the time.

Overall, this was much more than the Krause family had initially anticipated.

“We really didn’t have expectations,” Laurel said. “We were kind of thinking it would have been a success if we had 50.”

While she hasn’t seen any of the testimonials from the Tribunal yet, she said she is ready to go home and view them all.

The Tribunal encouraged participation by not only offering on-camera testimonials, but also audio, questionnaires and a separate entrance for those participants who wished to remain anonymous.

Laurel said this healing experience is widespread among participants and comes from the focus of the Tribunal.

“Our focus is truth, healing and harmony,” she said.

The purpose of the Tribunal, which Laurel said was reached, was to find the truth.

“Forty years later, we feel it’s time for the truth to come out at Kent State in 2010,” Laurel said. “We hope that the truth and healing will arrive in Kent this year.”

Among the participants at the Truth Tribunal was Doris Krause, the mother of Laurel and Allison.

Doris said Allison was killed just one week after her 19th birthday and was finishing up her freshman year at Kent State.

“She didn’t like what was going on in the world, and she did her bit to help try and correct things,” Doris said of Allison’s participation in May 4.

Along with the sadness of losing her daughter, Doris also had to deal with the lack of acknowledgment from Kent State after Allison’s death.

“I am still waiting for Kent State to inform me that Allison died,” Doris added.

No one from the university called, came to the hospital or attempted to contact the family, she added.

“What happened was despicable, and there certainly was enough blame to go around,” Doris Krause said adding that on May 4, 1970, administrators “shirked their duties to the students.

“I’d inspire these administrators here today to be more involved with their students,” Doris added.

“We’re just trying to find out the truth,” Krause said. “We’re not trying to make a judgment. We’re not trying to disrespect anyone. It’s total respect to preserve the stories.”

All information gathered during the four-day event will be archived and available for public viewing at the Tamiment Library at New York University.

Contact academics reporter Suzi

Starheim at [email protected].