Roger DiPaolo has been employed by the Record-Courier since June 1977, when he began an internship as a reporter while finishing his journalism degree at KSU. He had worked on the the university newspaper, The Daily Kent Stater, the previous year, and had covered the early stages of the gym controversy concerning the construction of the gym annex and it possibly affecting the May 4, 1970 site. He remembers calling then KSU president Glenn Olds "callous" in a Stater column for not canceling classes on May 4. He covered the Kent State beat for the R-C, including the gym controversy, until the Spring of 1978, when he received a different assignment. He was named assistant city editor in 1981, promoted to city editor in 1982 and was named editor of the Record-Courier in 1991. He has earned writing awards from UPI for feature writing, editorial writing and headlines. He was honored by the KSU Journalism School as one of its 60 Outstanding Graduates during its 60th anniversary celebration in 1997.

For Roger's feelings on the gym dispute, click here.

Submission Page-Home Page

Below are thumbnails of photos collected by Roger from the staff photographers at the Record-Courier. Click on thumbnail for larger picture.

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Gym Site Rally:October 1977
News Media and protesters converge (illegally) on gym site during October 1977 rally.

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Portage County Sheriff Allen McKitrick, bald man in center of photo, confers with university officials and law enforcement officers as construction of Memorial Gym Annex begins on September 19, 1977.

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Gym protesters celebrate after retaking the gym site; late July 1977. In foreground is Jolene McDonald (clapping) Nathan Soy (clapping with glasses) and Jane Bratnober (checkered shirt, arm raised).

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Led by Authur Krause and the Rev. John Adams, gym protesters march in downtown Kent area (Summit Street to Kent Police Department); August 1977. Behind Krause and Adams are Sarah Scheuer and Jolene McDonald, a gym protester: behind them are Mrs. Canfora, Albert Canfora and Martin Scheuer. Alan Canfora is carrying sign, "Bullets and Bulldozers". Robert Seton photo.

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William Whitaker, attorney of Akron, addresses a meeting of University school parents who protested a proposal by Kent State University to close the school and transfer the gym annex to the site. (The University school was a KSU run grade school and high school used as an educational laboratory for education students and professionals. The University eventually did close it years later.)

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Kent State University Board of Trustees meeting with Gym protesters behind them. From right to left; trustee Dr. James Flemming, trustee Robert Blakemore, trustee Robert Baumgardner, and unknown woman. Behind Baumgardner is is trustee chairman George Janik and behind Fleming is Roger J. DiPaolo. From left to right is Norman Jackson, trustee William Williams, Michael Schwartz and David Dix. July or August 1977.

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Julia Cochrane, gym protester, buries herself near the gym site as crews attempt to remove trees from Blanket Hill area to transplant them. Photo by Richard Sweet.

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Ron Kovic, author of Born on the Fourth of July and Dr. Raghbir Basi, head of the Center for Peaceful Change at a student meeting. Bill Arthrell stands behind them. (The Center for Peaceful Change grew out of the shootings of May 4, 1970. It has since had its funds and staff greatly reduced, its name changed to Center for Applied Conflict Resolution and rumor has it that it will be folded in the near future.)

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KSU Board of Trustees chairman, George Janik is confronted by gym protesters following a trustees meeting at Stark-KSU campus. Georgianne Taylor, a KSU student caucus member, Jane Bratnober of the Revolutionary Student Brigade are to the left of Janik. Dennis Carey of the Center for Peaceful Change and Dr. James Fleming, KSU trustee are in background. UPI photo (On the way back from meeting,May 4 Coalition cars are stopped by county roadblock and three people are arrested for going on the hill the preceding Friday. Albert Canfora, Sr. was also arrested but released when it became known that he was not listed as one of the 27 warrants that day.)

  In the words of Roger DiPaolo

The gym dispute was probably one of the most important stories I've ever
covered. To have had that experience as a beginning reporter was memorable,
to say the least. Not many journalism interns get to call the White House,
as I did, for comments on a story. I learned a great deal and remain proud
of the coverage we provided.

Looking back on the whole Tent City experience and its aftermath, what
stands out for me is how the nature of the protest changed as it dragged
on. What began as an almost-perfect exercise in non-violence ended, I
think, tragically when the protest was co-opted by people whose political
agendas had little to do with May 4 or Kent State, for that matter. It was
a long road, indeed, from the peaceful arrests of 200-some people on that
morning in July, when Tent City was dispersed, to the rallies in September
and October when the gym site was "stormed," the fence was ripped down and
tear gas and horses were used to disperse the protesters. There seemed to
be a whole new cast of characters calling the shots and the ending, from my
perspective, was a sad one.

That said, as time passes I am more convinced that there was a definite
agenda on the part of some university officials to do whatever they could
to "eliminate" as much of the May 4 site as possible. The gym does, indeed,
encroach on a historic site; the "practice field" where the Guard turned
and prepared to fire another volley at the students is gone. While the
protest failed in preventing construction of the Gym Annex - which,
ironically, has been basically replaced as a student-use athletic facility
by the new Wellness Center - the events of 1977 did serve to raise the
consciousness of the KSU community as to the need to preserve the May 4
site and, I think, made it impossible for those in the administration who
wanted to eliminate the physical setting of May 4 to do so. I also think
that the experiences of 1977 made a lasting impression on Michael Schwartz
(interim president during part of the gym dispute) who fought hard - and
faced considerable opposition within the KSU Board of Trustees - to force
construction of a permanent May 4 Memorial while he was president.

There are other pieces of Gym controversy material from Roger which I will post at a later date.

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