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Kent State scraps plans for ceremony

KENT — Kent State University is canceling its May 4 50th Commemoration Weekend events.

The decision was made in accordance with the order of Amy Acton, director of Ohio Department of Health, to stay at home to slow the spread of COVID-19 and in the interest of the health and safety of the community.

A virtual May 4 Commemoration program is under development, and details will be announced at a later time. 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

According to KSU 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. However, the health, safety and well-being of everyone is our first priority.”

Planned activities for the weekend included a sold-out concert featuring Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Joe Walsh and David Crosby with proceeds funding scholarships in the names of the four people killed, a luncheon with historian Eric Foner and a sold-out lecture by actor and activist Jane Fonda. Tickets for the Fonda lecture were free. Refunds already have been processed for the concert and the luncheon.

Diacon noted that the planning process itself has provided a firm foundation for future commemorations and ongoing educational efforts. For the first time, Kent State administrators, students and faculty, along with May 4 survivors and family members, united around a commitment to jointly plan a commemoration.

The collaboration of groups previously divided on May 4 issues personifies a spirit of unity and reconciliation that has become an integral part of the history and legacy of the Kent State shootings, he said.

The university urges members of the public to follow travel restrictions and other measures adopted to reduce the spread of COVID-19 during this crucial time. For the safety of all and to comply with restrictions on public gatherings indoors and outdoors, the university asks visitors to reschedule their plans, visiting the May 4 National Historic Landmark site after the national public health emergency has passed and the university has resumed on-campus operations.

For up-to-date information regarding the virtual commemoration, visit www.kent.edu/may4kentstate50.

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