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Student Demonstrations at IU in 1970

Cambodia Strikes: Catalyst

Kent shootings leave four dead

On May 4, after being pelted by rocks and bricks during a violent demonstration at Kent State, National Guardsmen opened fire, killing four students: Allison Krause, Jeffrey G. Miller, William Schroeder, and Sandy Lee Scheuer. Four others were critically wounded, and another eight (two of which were guardsmen) were sent to the hospital.

The university and nearby town, Kent, were shut down, and the 19,000 students on campus were ordered to leave. Armed troops and other law enforcement policed the campus, blocking off all entrances. Ohio Governor James A. Rhodes later called in the FBI to investigate the incident.  Eventually, a military officer, Adjutant General S. T. Del Corso, claimed that the troops fired only after a sniper had shot at the troops, a claim that the students denied.

IU Response

At IU the Kent State shootings created an environment of anger, fear, and sorrow.  Student Body President Parker reaffirmed his call for a rally on Wednesday May 6, in memory of those who were shot down at Kent State and to protest against the “invasion” of Cambodia. Parker stated that “The rally will still be held. But all those who turn out must be fully aware that there is a very real possibility of violence.” Parker and Mike King again pleaded for non-violence during the upcoming rally.

Student Reflection

The following is a personal reflection of an anonymous student written the night before the largest rally ever held at IU:

Outside the light is fading. It is spring and the grass and trees are green, fresh and full of the reanimation of life and renewed growth after a long cold winter. It is very beautiful. And later tonight? Or sometime tomorrow? Here in Bloomington or where else, there may well be blood on the grass and the trees stand mute in the presence of hatred and violence. For the air - the soft spring air is thick with the darkness of the coming night and with the menace of mindless force. Tomorrow there will be a rally of protest against that force as manifest in Cambodia, at Kent University, in the ghettoes of this rich country. And it will be poised on the brink. It could so easily run into that same violence which is omnipresent in America. I know this and I am afraid of being caught up in force beyond my own control. But I will go, because small a gesture as it is, I must share the sorrow and the frustration and doubtless, (for who could feel otherwise?), the anger of those who want to show that they disavow America’s action in S.E. Asia, that they reject with contempt the brutal attempts to muzzle their actions, that there is, in their presence hope, for America and therefore mankind. For this is the tragedy of us all, black or white, from whatever race or country.