Panel discusses May 4’s impact on politics

Breanne George

Leatrice Urbanowicz of Frederick Maryland comments on the Confronting War and Militarism: Strategies from the Past and Visions for the Future panel discussion in the Kiva last night. The event was organized by the May 4 Task Force who will be sponsoring e

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

A panel discussion “Confronting War and Militarism: Strategies from the past and visions for the future” was held in the Kiva last night to answer questions regarding the Vietnam War, May 4 and the current war in Iraq.

Six panelists led the discussion, which was sponsored by the Kent State May 4 Task Force and moderated by Patrick Coy, director of the Center for Applied Conflict Management.

Panelist Chic Canfora, English lecturer at Kent State, was a student activist at Kent State in 1970. She said May 4 reminds students of the activism that took place in the 1970s. She hopes students will continue to question their government and stand up for what they believe in.

“We have to remind people that America should not have stood for the war then,” she said. “And we must remind people that America should not stand for it now.”

Panelist Joe Lewis, former Kent State student in the 1970s, was shot twice by the National Guard on May 4, 1970. He said student activists were regarded as communists via the media in the past.

The panelists were asked if protesting promotes change, and all six agreed that student activism was the reason the Vietnam War ended. Panelist Gary Lockwood, Vietnam veteran, said change only can occur by the activism of many people. He said student activism appears less common today.

“Students have to take to the streets and let their voices be heard,” he said. “Power is in numbers.”

Canfora disagreed and said she believed students are just as active, but have less time to do so due to rising tuition costs and credit card debt. She emphasized not underestimating the power of students.

Panelists also discussed the May 4 commemoration, which has taken on other social and political implications.

“It would be a disservice if we didn’t mention the war in Iraq on May 4,” Lewis said. “It’s not proper to remember only an isolated moment of time and not speak on its current relevance.”

Contact student politics reporter Breanne George at [email protected]