May 4 Task Force to discuss lessons of controversial 1977 Gym Annex protests

Kelly Pickerel

The May 4 Task Force will hold a panel discussion at 7 p.m. tonight in the Kiva, marking the 30th anniversary of the protests against the construction of the Gym Annex.

Alan Canfora, one of the nine wounded on May 4, 1970, will narrate a slideshow presentation. Six speakers involved in events surrounding the Gym Annex protests will also participate in a discussion.

The speakers are:

-John Peach, Kent State Chief of Police

-Dennis Carey, former Center for Peaceful Change director

-George Janik, former Kent State Trustee

-Attorney Bill Whitaker

-Attorney and activist Nancy Grimm

-Activist Greg Rambo

Canfora said the speakers will allow different perspectives for students to understand what happened 30 years ago.

“The speakers were students, trustees, faculty members, attorneys,” he said. “They can talk about the different angles of what happened.”

In May 1977, the university approved a plan to begin building the Gym Annex on a portion of the site of the 1970 shootings. On May 12, those protesting the construction of the building pitched tents near the current building site and along Blanket Hill and stayed there until ordered to disperse, two months later. Police arrested 193 people, and the issue was eventually taken to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“After 30 years, what are the lessons? What did we learn?” Canfora said.

The task force will accept questions from the audience after the presentation. President Stephanie Vincent encourages those attending to have questions ready.

Contact student politics reporter Kelly Pickerel at [email protected].