Where is your tent?

Oftentimes, certain locales hold a genuine nostalgic feeling. Sometimes, it is because one holds fond personal memories about the particular place. Other times, it stems from the undeniable historical presence that the location possesses.

At Kent State, remembering May 4 holds great significance for several different reasons. Nostalgia plays a role for many people. Personal memories for the people who were on campus on May 4, 1970 create an indisputable level of remembrance that is difficult to understand for those who were not actually there to experience the tragedy.

Yesterday evening, many gathered at the Kiva in honor of the 30th anniversary of Tent City. Tent City represents the two-month long protest in 1977 that occurred because of the planned construction of the Gym Annex on part of the May 4 site.

While wading through a sea of actual tents is reason enough to stand up and take notice, there is much more to Tent City than recreating some off-the-wall camping experiment. Tent City represents the struggle between students and university officials that can sometimes cause a rift in the campus population.

The construction of the Gym Annex created major disagreement among all parties in the university community. Activists did not want the May 4 site to be defaced by the new building. It would change the face of the event for visitors that never experienced the site without the Gym Annex being present. Trustees still seemed to think that it was acceptable for the building to be erected.

Tent City ensued.

More than 1,000 people rallied regularly in protest of the construction. Non-violent protests, in the form of tents, created an atmosphere of a single cause being defended. It was not until a court order allowed authorities to begin making arrests that the original Tent City was completely disbanded two months after the first stake went into the ground.

The tents may have been removed, but their meaning has not been lost.

As students at Kent State, we may have a different perspective on protesting due to the events of May 4, 1970. The 30th anniversary event for Tent City further exemplifies that when executed correctly, strong points can be made peacefully. Today’s typical college student may not understand the significance of events such as Tent City on the surface level. Remembering the efforts of past generations that fought for their beliefs peacefully, yet forcefully, provides a basis for how similar efforts should be organized today.

It can be easy to get lost in the shuffle of college life. We sometimes catch ourselves being sucked into the bubble of our relatively comfortable college lifestyles. What we cannot afford to forget is that certain causes merit our notice. We must not hesitate to stand up and speak for who we are and what we believe in. Tent City exemplifies this importance. It is paramount that we, as Kent State students, do not take for granted what past generations have accomplished with peaceful means of protest and communication.

Tent City was much more than hundreds of people camping together on campus. It was an instrument of camaraderie that created an atmosphere conducive to change and progress.

Where is your tent?

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