50th Advisory Committee

The May 4 50th Advisory Committee

The May 4 50th Commemoration Advisory Committee is a diverse group of individuals representing the students, faculty and staff of Kent State University, along with several May 4, 1970, witnesses and survivors of the shootings. Our charge as a committee is to provide input and recommendations for all aspects of the historic 50th commemoration of May 4, 1970.

The advisory committee members were selected to bring a wide range of knowledge, experiences, perspectives and expertise related to the events of May 4, 1970, its aftermath, changing impact and legacy spanning 50 years.

Kent State University is guided by a set of values that includes, among others, fostering and promoting diversity of thought, the free exchange of ideas and freedom of expression. The committee’s values, aligned with the university’s, are additionally guided by a collective commitment to ensuring that the cultural and educational programs planned to commemorate May 4, 1970, at Kent State also include commemorating the role of peaceful conflict resolution and reconciliation in the aftermath of the tragedy.

The collaboration of shooting survivors, May 4 activists and Kent State University officials for the 50th Commemoration is historic and powerful, considering that during the controversial Vietnam War and extension of the conflict into Cambodia, Kent State University, like our nation, was divided against itself. Now, 50 years later, factions that were at odds for decades are working together to build a lasting legacy around May 4, including lessons learned.

In recent years, long-time May 4 activists, survivors and wounded students, after working separately from the university for decades, began working in concert with Kent State officials to build a May 4 Memorial, to place markers where the slain students fell, to establish the May 4 Visitors Center and to secure the May 4 site’s designation as a National Historic Landmark.

The advisory committee itself represents the varied points of view that remain an essential aspect of May 4 and its aftermath, to be commemorated on May 4, 2020. Beyond honoring Allison Krause, Jeff Miller, Sandy Scheuer and Bill Schroeder, the advisory committee is equally committed to meaningfully reflecting on and educating others about the danger of hateful rhetoric and its resulting consequences. We are further committed to reflecting on the role of Kent State University as a leader in peaceful conflict resolution and the role of students as voices of change for a better world.

Toward that end, the advisory committee’s first goal in preparing for the 50th commemoration was to develop three pillars to guide its planning efforts around meaningfully:

  • Remembering and honoring those impacted by the tragedy,
  • Educating about the May 4, 1970, shootings, actions leading to the event and conflicting reactions in its aftermath.
  • Honoring the May 4 legacy by inspiring student activism and promoting the role of universities in encouraging civic participation and protecting freedom of speech.

Throughout the planning process, it is expected that the May 4 50th Commemoration Advisory Committee will receive numerous requests to be included in the programming or decision-making or to consider various issues, causes and ideas when planning Commemoration events. The advisory committee is committed to reviewing and considering all ideas submitted and is guided by these principles and a consensus of its diverse members, selected to represent a broad base of experience, opinions, ideologies and generations.

Media protocols, including the identification of two spokespersons for the advisory committee, have been established to respond to specific questions and media inquiries and to speak on behalf of the committee by representing the will and consensus of its members.

Members of the advisory committee are proud to serve in this capacity and are collectively devoted to carrying on the legacy of May 4 in ways that are respectful, educational and inspiring.

Signed, the members of the May 4 50th Commemoration Advisory Committee
(see member list below)

Advisory Committee Spokespersons:

Spokespersons for the advisory committee are:

  • Chic Canfora
  • Rod Flauhaus

If you have questions for the committee, please contact the spokespersons above.

Advisory Committee Member List

First Name Last Name Title
Ken Burhanna Dean, University Libraries
Alan Canfora Wounded in 1970, Alumnus, Activist
Chic Canfora Eyewitness, Alumnus Activist, CCO Cleveland Schools
Laura Davis Emeritus Professor of English
Marcello Fantoni Associate Provost, Office of Global Education
Mindy Farmer Director, May 4 Visitor's Center
Rod Flauhaus Project Manager, 50th Commemoration May 4
Tom Grace Wounded on May 4, 1970, Author, Ph.D. History
Amoaba Gooden Chair Academic Dept. Pan-African Studies
Paul Haridakis Professor, Communication Studies
Nick Kollar Undergraduate Student Trustee
Jerry Lewis Emeritus Professor of Sociology
Chris Post Associate Professor Geography, Kent State University at Stark
Amy Reynolds Dean, College of Communication and Information
Melody Tankersley Interim Senior Vice President and Provost
Ethan  Lower May 4 Task Force Chair
Uma   Krishnan May 4 Task Force Advisor

Advisory Committee Summaries
View summaries of the Advisory Committee meetings.