Police presence will be heightened around campus Wednesday for May 4 commemorations, but they don’t expect anything out of the ordinary.
A few more police officers than normal will be on duty all day, said Chief John Peach of the Kent State Police. The university expects a significantly larger number of visitors this year because it is the 35th anniversary of May 4, 1970, and needs sufficient officers to provide services.
Police do not expect any violence or other trouble, Peach said. He said he thinks the extra police officers will give directions, direct traffic and assist people in other ways. Officers will be visible in case anyone needs them or something arises.
“We don’t have any information that makes us believe this won’t be a quiet and respectful commemoration of May 4,” Peach said. “But anytime you bring people on campus for this event, there is always a risk, and we are prepared to handle that.”
Individual protesters have been known to disrupt commemoration ceremonies in the past and “promote their own agendas,” Peach said. The people who disrupt these events are typically not students at the university.
“Anytime you have a higher number of visitors here for the purpose of remembering what took place 35 years ago, it evokes a lot of emotions,” Peach said. “Not everyone comes for the same purpose and on occasion individuals disrupt the events.”
Two years ago a large number of people wanted to disrupt activities on campus by having a large march, Peach said. They were told it was illegal to block traffic but did anyway. Several of them were confronted and arrested, Peach said.
“This year everything looks peaceful and quiet,” Peach said.
Contact safety reporter Sean Joseph at [email protected]