Fight the war! Get out of your dorms!

Kelly Pickerel

Students march for peace in anti-war demonstration


The rain stopped and the clouds parted just in time for yesterday’s anti-war demonstration, sponsored by the Kent State Anti-War Committee.

More than 100 protesters marched throughout campus holding signs expressing their displeasure with the current state of affairs in Iraq.

“Wage Peace Not War!”

“You’re Being Lied To!”

“Down With King George! Down With Darth Cheney!”

Ketty Irizarry, freshman American Sign Language major, said she had been handing out protest fliers all week.

“I want people to get the truth,” she said. “There are people against the war, no matter what other people say. If they’re against it too, they’re not alone.”

Leonard Shelton, coordinator for the Ohio chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War, spoke to the crowd gathered around the rock on front campus.

Shelton served 20 years in the Marine Corps, including time in Iraq in the early ’90s. He said he returned from his service suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, and doctors said it was because of his childhood, not because of what happened in combat.

“When we come back home, we go through many emotions,” Shelton said. “When they say what we went out and did for them is our fault, that’s betrayal. When they say to support the troops, how come they don’t support me? I am the troops. The troops who come home aren’t getting support.”

Shelton said he spoke yesterday to counteract what was said at the Vets for Freedom meeting Monday.

“They’re pro-war, and they’re mainly saying it’s OK to murder innocent people,” he said. “‘9/11 was linked to Iraq — that’s a lie.”

Shelton said he’d like to see changes happen now.

“We need immediate withdrawal from Iraq, health care for veterans and we need to let the Iraqi people live the way they want,” he said.

Sixty-eight-year-old John Beaty, a retired United Methodist pastor from Akron, carried a sign featuring words crossed out and “Oil — of course!” at the bottom.

“I’m very concerned with the war,” Beaty said. “I want the troops home safe, and we need to leave the Iraqis alone and let them have their own oil.”

He said the United States “could have done much more for the Iraqis if we were truly concerned about their freedom.”

Freshman chemistry major Andrew Ruminas agreed the war is built on false information.

“The war is founded on lies,” he said. “It’s another example of increasing imperialism and nationalism.”

Carrying a professionally made sign saying, “One Day of the Iraq War = 423,529 Children with Health Care,” Mary Nickols-Rhodes, mother of two teenagers from Cuyahoga Falls, continued expressing the trend of health care issues.

“I’m supposed to be at a spaghetti dinner right now!” she said. “The troops don’t get any spaghetti! If they do, it’s probably not good!”

She said she wished the public was more involved.

“We know (the war) is wrong, and we’re still there,” Nickols-Rhodes said. “The public needs to be a little more outraged.”

Ted Voneida, a professor and chairman of neurobiology at Kent State from 1976 to 1998, said he’s written 40 letters to the editor of the Record-Courier concerning the war.

“And I’m working on my 41st,” he said. “I’m against this war just as equally as I was against Vietnam.”

While passing through campus, the protesters chanted, “Fight the war! Get out of your dorms!”

Amanda Janosko, freshman integrated social studies major, watched the protest from the sidelines.

“Kent State and war protests don’t go well together,” she said referring to her hesitation in joining the demonstration. “I’m only a freshman. This is the first time I’ve seen something like this. It’s interesting.”

The Kent State Anti-War Committee wants to continue its presence on campus. Meetings are 7 p.m. Tuesdays in Room 322 of the Student Center.

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