Our view: the changing legacy of Taylor Hall

It’s been almost 40 years since the Ohio National Guard shot four Kent State students dead in the wake of protests following President Richard Nixon’s decision to invade Cambodia. Since then, it’s been difficult for those looking for some understanding of the shootings to find somewhere on campus to inquire, learn and reflect as the memorial suggests.

But soon, there will be.

In October 2010, a visitors’ center will open in what used to be the Daily Kent Stater newsroom in Taylor Hall, which will serve as a starting point for those looking to delve a little deeper into the events that shook our campus 37 years ago.

During our tenure in Taylor Hall, we often encountered visitors looking for a place to start their quest to understand the events of May 1970. Some were puzzled by the unassuming memorial and small pamphlet box, which was often left empty. Beyond the granite memorial and the markers where the students fell, there aren’t many sites for visitors’ to tour. Hopefully, the new visitors’ center will help fill that void.

Associate Provost Laura Davis said the center is still without funding, but we hope that changes soon. This isn’t just an endeavor that should be backed by a few like-minded individuals, but the entire university – including the administration, faculty, students, alumni and the surrounding community.

For many of us on the Stater, we know what a special place that small room in Taylor Hall is. Sure, it’s gotten a little rundown during the years, but each one of us has learned so unbelievably much in that small space about journalism and life in general. So many thoughtful discussions and honest debates have taken place, and plenty of treasured memories have been made there. We’re hoping the same will happen in the visitors’ center.

At first glance, it doesn’t seem as if there could be many parallels between the Stater newsroom and a May 4 visitors’ center. But if there’s one aspect they share, it’s the passion involved. So many people feel passionately about what happened on May 4, 1970, and so many us feel so strongly and passionately about what happened in that newsroom.

Of all the possible uses for that room, a May 4 visitors’ center is the most fitting. If it weren’t for the journalists nestled in Taylor Hall during the time of the shootings, many of the most breathtaking images from that day would have never been taken. But most of all, we know the room’s spirit will live on. It will forever be a place where people are looking for answers.

So now, officially, consider us handing over Room 100 of Taylor Hall to history.

Take care of it, please?

The above editorial is the consensus of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.