Kent 25 member dies, always accepted others

Bo Gemmell

Lough known for May 4 protests

The only faculty member indicted for actions during the May 4, 1970 protests died Oct. 11 in California.

Thomas Lough and 24 others became known as the Kent 25 after they were charged with rioting crimes related to the May 4 protests. Lough, a peace advocate, taught sociology at Kent State from the late 1960s until 1991.

Emeritus professor of sociology Jerry Lewis said Lough was charged with first-degree rioting for his involvement in the protests.

“We felt the indictments were political rather than legal,” Lewis said.

Despite Lough’s historical involvement with May 4, Dennis Cooke, emeritus professor of biological studies, said he would remember Lough for his acceptance of others and his passion for free speech.

“Tom was very encouraging in the acceptance of anyone,” Cooke said. “He was willing to explore what you were thinking.”

Lewis said the faculty actively helped Lough during the indictment, which was later dismissed for being improper. Lewis, who discovered that the charges were dismissed before Lough, didn’t hesitate to inform his co-worker of the news.

“I walked right over to his classroom in Bowman and told him the indictments against him had been dropped,” Lewis said.

Cooke said Lough was one of his closest friends, since the two met in 1967 when they arrived at Kent State. They shared ideas and socialized with other faculty members during lunches.

“Kent State was a real institution on the rise at the time, and there were lots of very exciting people,” he said.

Cooke said most students and faculty members were accepting of Lough during the indictment, but he felt the administration at that time looked down upon him.

Cooke said the only people Lough felt unsympathetic toward were pro-war politicians and “the corporate type who believed the easiest way to get along was to get money.”

Lough’s office was next to Lewis’s, and Lewis remembers his desire to teach.

Lewis said Lough took a creative approach to teaching at Kent State. He said Lough was interested in learning how small societies, such as the Amish, live peacefully. The professor and peace activist also studied the use of calories on a large scale.

“He was interested in the question of how many calories it took to run society,” Lewis said.

Lough died of heart failure in Santa Rosa, Calif. at the age of 80. He is survived by his wife, four children and seven grandchildren.

Contact general assignment reporter Bo Gemmell at d[email protected].