Monday, May 4, 2015

This Week in St. Kate's History: May 4th Matters

May 9, 1970 Pioneer Press headline
On May 4, 1970 four students of Kent State University were fatally shot and nine were wounded by Ohio National Guardsmen. Today we remember our fallen peers and the terrible loss of life that day 45 years ago.

Following the shootings, St. Kate's students, staff, and faculty joined together with more than 1,250 other universities to stand in solidarity with Kent State.

Students voted 510-410 against a general social and academic strike. But 110 students who voted against the strike still wanted some form of positive action. This feeling, combined with the enthusiasm of the 410 students supporting a strike, caused the student government to call for prayers, letters to Congress, and cancellation of all social events.  The cancellations included May Fete, the end of year celebration we now call Dew Drop Bop.

On May 9, 1970 many St. Kate's students and faculty marched from campus to the Capitol steps--joining protesters from 9 other schools along the way.  Together Archbishop Leo Byrne and Governor Harold LeVander declared Sunday, May 10 a day of prayer for those at Kent State and everyone affected by the war.

Classes continued as scheduled, although many discussions centered around what happened at Kent State. While May Fete was cancelled, booths were still set up.  But instead of the usual food and games, they provided students phone numbers and addresses of congressmen.

Students also held prayer vigils in the chapel, participated in 36 and 60 hour fasts, and gathered signatures from the Highland Park area for a petition calling for the removal of American troops in Cambodia.

Read the full article about St. Kate's students and their response to Kent State on the Digital Collections. To learn more about other institutions who protested the shootings at Kent State search #May4Matters on Twitter or Facebook and visit the photo website.

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