Letters to the Editor

May 4 history is already preserved

Dear Editor:

We in Libraries and Media Services were surprised to learn through several articles in the local press of the proposal by the May 4 Task Force for a May 4 visitors’ center. The goals of the proposed center seem to have been publicized without a full awareness of the collections and services provided by Special Collections and Archives in relation to May 4.

Starting in 1970, Special Collections and Archives has established the most comprehensive collection of archival materials in all formats, including artifacts, related to the Kent State shootings and their aftermath. This collection is composed of more than 250 cubic feet of material. LMS has worked for many years to gain the trust of potential donors of May 4-related materials, and we continue to actively seek additions to the May 4 Collection. Since 2004, Special Collections and Archives has added more than 30 cubic feet of archival material to its May 4 holdings, and new collections are acquired on a regular basis.

In 1973, LMS created and continues to manage a dedicated space in the Main Library building for the May 4 Resource Room. This room includes artwork and other selected items from the library’s collection, as well as general information on the events.

Special Collections and Archives provides daily reference and research assistance related to May 4 to a broad community of users – from middle school students to media professionals. These information requests come from both on- and off-campus communities. The May 4 Collection in Special Collections and Archives is administered by professional librarians and archivists whose core mission is to connect people with information sources to seek their own understandings of May 4. Additionally, researchers can find resources including annotated bibliographies, hundreds of digitized photographs, chronologies of events, oral histories and online exhibitions on the Special Collections and Archives May 4 Web site (http://speccoll.library.kent.edu/4may70).

We agree with the Task Force that there needs to be more interpretive information available near the site of the shootings and the May 4 Memorial. However, we are concerned that the proposed Taylor Hall visitors’ center program would set up a parallel collection of archival materials on campus – causing confusion to researchers and visitors. LMS remains steadfast in preserving the archival record of May 4 and making those materials widely available.

Mark Weber

Dean of Libraries and Media Services

Arab community must admit its mistakes, too

Dear Editor:

I am very disappointed in last week’s program “Muslim American Relations” sponsored by the Americans for Informed Democracy in the Kiva. As only one voice from the Muslim community, the representative from the Council on American-Islamic Relations presented very biased information. He outlined many steps America must make with regard to our politics and policies in order to remedy the negative impression many Muslims have about the United States. He neglected, however, to place any responsibility for the strained relations between Muslims and America upon the Muslim community. He offered many specific examples of how “the West” has made mistakes — but neglected to point out any places where the Arab community has made mistakes. If relations between the two communities are to be repaired, don’t both parties have to work on their mistakes? Isn’t the first step at least admitting that your community has made some?

Jennifer Chestnut

Executive director of Hillel

Hillel at Kent State University