Daily Kent Stater

Students found freedom after May 4 events

Dear Editor:

At the last panel discussion on Sunday evening of the happenings before and during May 4, 1970, by panelists who “were there,” a current student asked the panel how those events affected students in the following months. One panelist responded that people felt very fearful.

I have to disagree with this perception, at least in the longer run. I think that people in the university experienced a greater sense of freedom and demonstrated a new courage in the months and years following May 4. The women’s movement became stronger on campus, and the first gay group, Kent Gay Liberation Front, came into being in late l97l. I had the privilege of being the faculty adviser of the latter.

The university opened two new programs within a year and a half of May 4, l970, the Center for Peaceful Change and the Experimental College. The latter permitted a wide variety of people, including townspeople and students, to become instructors for a number of new and challenging topics. The former provided training in non-violent actions at the time of the gym protests in l976, and continues in its present form as the Center for Applied Conflict Management to explore and teach non-violent methods of bringing about change.

Unlike a recent writer to the Daily Kent Stater, I want to commend the May 4 Task Force for its ongoing work. It is remarkable that students who were born years after l970 are so committed to keeping the events and lessons of May 4 alive.

I would like to suggest that in the future the task force cast its net a little wider in its search for speakers. I was bothered by the predominantly male presence on the two panels I attended. There are women among the faculty, emeriti and alumni who were activists in the years before and after l970 who could bring additional perspectives to the discussion.

Dolores Noll

Emeritus professor of English


May 4 Task Force commemoration looks to educate

Dear Editor:

I must take issue with Chris Davis on his letter to the editor “May 4 Task Force hinders progress.” I believe this year the May 4 Task Force has made great progress with planning a very relevant week of programs for Remembrance Week.

Our May 1 panel discussions focus on what American culture was like in 1970, and we do this without passing judgment on any point of view. We have invited Vietnam Era veterans to explain how they felt when they heard about the Kent State events. Members of the controversial group Students for a Democratic Society will return for a reunion to discuss their group. And our evening program will look at the events from the perspectives of mainstream students, activists, faculty and local news.

Traditional programs on the evening of May 3 and the afternoon of May 4 offer more opportunities for the university community to understand why it is important to use what you learn at Kent State and take that knowledge into the outside world. Many people who say they won’t be coming to the afternoon programming do come to the silent candlelight march and vigil in the Prentice Hall parking lot.

Our keynote speaker for the fourth program is Dr. William Schulz, executive director of Amnesty International USA. Dr. Schulz was a student minister assigned to the Kent Unitarian Church in 1970. He has taken his experiences from Kent and used them as part of the way he approaches his work in social justice issues across the country and around the world.

It is unfortunate that Mr. Davis’ poll was a weak and haphazard polling of the student body. As a history major myself, I do know that there is room for improvement in educating our fellow students of the events of 1970 on our campus. It is my hope that some significant strides in this direction will be made with next week’s programs.

All members of the university community are invited to participate in the week of commemoration programming. A full schedule is available on our Web site: dept.kent.edu/may4/.

Sarah Lund-Goldstein

Co-chair of May 4 Task Force and senior history major