ROGER DIPAOLO COLLECTION
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.
Below are thumbnails
of photos collected by Roger from the staff photographers at the Record-Courier. Click on
thumbnail for larger picture.
Gym Site Rally:October 1977
News Media and protesters converge (illegally) on gym site during October 1977 rally.
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.
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).
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.
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.)
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
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.
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.)
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
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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