Statement of the May 4 50th Commemoration Advisory Committee on Its Decision to Include Jane Fonda in the Commemoration Program

The May 4 50th Commemoration Advisory Committee appreciates the personal and meaningful responses we have received about the inclusion of activist Jane Fonda as one of several keynote speakers at the 50th Commemoration of the Kent State shooting.

We take to heart the painful feelings expressed by those for whom Fonda’s visit to Hanoi as a young activist in 1972 had a profound impact. We are equally moved by those who expressed their high regard for Fonda’s atonement after the incident and her lifelong activism in support of human rights and civil rights.

As a diverse group of individuals who have confronted and learned from our own missteps and growth over the last 50 years, the Advisory Committee finds value in both views of the speaker’s contribution to a program that is emblematic of long-standing divisions in our country and the difficulty we have reconciling our differences.

The Committee began its work nearly two years ago on the premise that diverse viewpoints have their place in our history and in the wide range of Commemoration programs activities and speakers that will be part of the weekend’s activities.

We remain mindful that Kent State occupies a special place among universities in America. We know firsthand the dire consequences of polarizing rhetoric and the positive outcomes that result when we work together to reconcile our differences through thoughtful reflection and productive discourse.

As the 50th Commemoration of May 4th approaches, we remain optimistic about the opportunity and responsibility we have to model for others the importance of reflecting on our past, learning from our mistakes and recognizing that tragedies borne of division have no place on a college campus or in a democracy.


For more information about the 50th Commemoration of May 4, visit

POSTED: Tuesday, February 18, 2020 - 1:13pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, February 19, 2020 - 11:18am
May 4 50th Commemoration Advisory Committee