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Kent State Cancels Commemoration Of 50th Anniversary Of May 4 Shootings

Concerns about the coronavirus have led the university to cancel plans to commemorate the events of May 4, 1970. [Kent State University]
Concerns about coronavirus have led the university to cancel plans to commemorate the events of May 4, 1970.

Kent State  canceled plans to mark the 50th anniversary of the shooting that took the lives of four students on May 4, 1970.

The university said made the decision "in the interest of the health and safety of the community," and also to comply with Gov. Mike DeWine's statewide stay at home order. The order takes effect Monday, March 23 at 11:59 p.m. and is aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19, and extends through at least April 6.

The university's first priority is to maintain everyone's health, safety, and well-being, said Kent State University President Todd Diacon.

"This action comes as a great disappointment to so many who have looked forward to this milestone weekend and who have worked tirelessly to make this event happen," Diacon said.

Planning for this year's commemoration marked a turning point itself. For the first time, Kent State administrators, students and faculty, along with May 4 survivors and family members, worked together on events to mark the occasion. Diacon said that effort created a firm foundation for future commemorations and ongoing educational efforts. 

The university is working to create a meaningful virtual commemoration and will announce details as plans are finalized.

"This online program will honor and remember Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandra Scheuer and William Schroeder who were killed and nine other Kent State students who were wounded on May 4, 1970, when the Ohio National Guard fired on students during an anti-war protest," said a KSU press release.

May 4 events were to include actress and activist Jane Fonda as the keynote speaker, as well as historian Eric Foner and a benefit concert featuring Joe Walsh and David Crosby. The university has processed refunds for the concert and the luncheon featuring Foner. 

KSU is asking visitors to reschedule any plans to visit the May 4 National Historic Landmark site until after the national public health emergency has passed and the university has resumed on-campus operations.

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