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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 :
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We strive to promote the truth about the shootings, and believe that...peacelogo.jpg (4296 bytes)

  • Gov. James A. Rhodes should not have ordered Ohio National Guard troops on our campus.
  • 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 come.
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 informational tables.

Above photos by Mike Pacifico

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