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In 1975 the Kent State University administration stopped their
sponsorship and support of the annual commemoration programs held on May 4, saying they
were no longer needed. That same year the May 4 Task Force was founded by
Kent State students. They felt that the truth about what happened in May of 1970 had yet
to be told and that the lessons to be learned from the tragedy should be part of a
continuous and living history. Since 1975 it has been the purpose of the M4TF
to raise the level of awareness of students, faculty and the general public about the May
1970 shootings and the history of subsequent related events. In a 1990 statement of
purpose the Task Force declared that :We strive to promote the truth about the
shootings, and believe that...
Gov. James A. Rhodes should not have ordered Ohio National Guard troops on our
KSU students were exercising their constitutional rights to protest the Cambodian
invasion. Those rights were violated by the Guard when they broke up a peaceful rally.
The deaths of Allison, Sandy, Jeff and Bill were deliberate murder.
Members of the Ohio National Guard were in no danger at the time they fired into the
unarmed crowd. Some guardsmen later conspired to fabricate their story of what happened
and lied to the FBI.
The government and courts failed to activate legal machinery by blocking a federal grand
jury investigation and ignoring overwhelming evidence that the guardsmen shot with intent
to harm specific students.
Since 1970, the KSU administration has shown an historic insensitivity towards the
significance of May 4, 1970. This has been most blatantly demonstrated by the construction
of a gym annex on the site of the shootings, its refusal to seriously engage in and
support the process to construct a proper and fitting May 4 memorial on campus and waiting
over 28 years to close the parking spots in Prentice parking lot where Allison, Bill, Jeff
and Sandy bled to death. (The last part of this point was amended by this web site in 1998
to relflect new developments.)
On April 4, 2000 the May 4 Task Force announed it plans for its
future in a Press Conference. Below is from this web site's notes on the conferene.
1. Placing a marker by the Pagoda, identifying the
spot from where the Ohio National Guard fired on the unarmed Kent State Students on May 4,
1970. (This was a request from Doris Krause.)
2. Set aside visitor parking on site for those wishing to see the
May 4 Memorial and Prentice Lot Markers. Presently, visitors can use 4 spots in Prentice
Parking Lot that are set aside for 15 minute pick up and delivery or park a ten minute
walk away (a walk which is nearly impossible for wheelchair bound indidviduals.) Most out
of town visitors end up parking in "reserved" parking sections in Prentice Lot
and getting ticketed.
3. Have the university officially recognize the 4 Kent State
University buildings which have been named after the four murdered students.
4. Achieve Historical Landmark status for the May 4th Site to
ensure that it will remain an educational and emotional ground for the generations to
5. Calling for Ohio National Guardsmen present on campus on May 4,
1970 to come forward and to tell the truth about who fired the first shot and who (if
anyone) gave the order to shoot and why.
The M4TF has organized the May 4 commemoration programs since
1975. They consist of a candlelight march and vigil on the night of May 3 and a program on
the KSU Commons the next afternoon as well as workshops, panels, concerts, poetry readings
and other cultural events. Each year the students in the Task Force choose a unique theme,
which outlines the nature of that year's programs. The theme is usually reflective of the
political climate at that time and its relationship to May, 1970 or deals with
circumstances prompted by KSU insensitivity towards May 4, 1970. Thousands of Kent State
students and others from around the country have participated in this annual event.
Speakers have included civil rights and anti-war activists from the '60s and '70s as well
as from the present. Task Force members are also active throughout the academic year
sponsoring classroom programs, dormitory programs, audio-visual presentations and
FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL (330) 672-3096 OR VISIT THEIR OFFICE IN
ROOM 235 OF THE KENT STATE STUDENT CENTER-THE MAY 4 TASK FORCE WEB SITE CAN BE REACHED BY
Above photos by Mike Pacifico
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