Governor Rhodes Speech on campus disorders in Kent, May 3, 1970
Now you know everybody here. This is -- Robert Kopansky is the District Attorney for the Federal Government. You know the Mayor, Del Corso, Karamonte and Don Kane. I want to sum this up and then you can ask questions of any of us. We have seen here at the City of Kent, especially, probably the most vicious form of campus-oriented violence yet perpetrated by dissident groups and their allies in the State of Ohio for this reason. Most of the dissident groups have operated within the campus. This has moved over where they have threatened and intimidated merchants and people of this community. Now it ceases to be a problem of the Colleges in Ohio. This, now, is the problem of the State of Ohio and I want to assure you that we're going to employ every force of law that we have under our authority not only to get to the bottom of the situation here at Kent -- on the campus -- in the city -- and we have asked the complete cooperation of the District Attorney of the Federal Government because federal supplies were burned and destroyed in the ROTC building and these people, after we can find them -- after a complete investigation -- will be turned over to the Federal Government. We have asked the County Prosecutor for a complete and comprehensive investigation. And there are some people now out on probation that -- there has been a strong word to the fact that they have participated in this. Now we're going to put a stop to this for this reason. The same group that we're dealing with here today -- and there are three or four of them -- they only have one thing in mind and that is to destroy higher education in Ohio. And if they continue this and continue what they-re doing, they're going to reach their goal for the simple reason that you cannot continue to set fires to buildings that are worth $5 and $10 million dollars because you cannot get replacements from the Ohio General Assembly. And last night I think that we have seen all forms of violence -- the worst. And when they start taking over communities, this is when we're going to use every part of the law enforcement agencies of Ohio to drive them out of Kent. We're going to make two recommendations to the Ohio General Assembly. Now we've had this at Miami in Oxford, Ohio. Also at Ohio State University and we had 32 police officers injured -- and a couple very severe. We have the same groups going from one campus to the other and they use a university -- state-supported by the tax payers of Ohio as a sanctuary -- and in this they make definite plans fo burning, destroying, and throwing rocks at police and at the National Guard and the Highway Patrol. We're asking the Legislature that any person throwing a rock, brick or stone at a law enforcement agency of Ohio -- a sheriff, policeman, highway patrolman or national guardsman becomes a felony and, secondly, we're going to ask for legislation that any person in the administrative side or as a student -- if these people are convicted whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony for participating in a riot, they're automatically dismissed -- there is no hearing, no recourse and they cannot enter another State University in the State of Ohio. We are going to eradicate the problem -- we're not going to treat the symptoms. And as long as this continues, higher education in Ohio is in jeopardy and if they continue to give permissive consent, they will destroy higher education in this state. I would like for -- we were very fortunate last night we had 700 -- 700 National Guardsmen in this area on the truckers strike. Had they not been here there would have been 14 or 15 other burn-outs and I'm not talking about buildings. And it was just through the good fortune of the other incident happening parallel with this one. And that we had here the County Prosecutor, the Mayor, the Chief of Police and the Fire Chief of every law enforcement agency here have been very cohesive in this and I want to congratulate all of them. They've done a great job -- everybody here -- the City Attorney -- everyboddy here -- the Judicial System, all of them have done a good job here but they're limited. There has to be some way of getting some subsidy for these epople to fight and these people just move from one campus to the other and terrorize a community. They're worse than the "Brown Shirt" and the communist element and also the "night riders" in the Vigilantes. They're the worst type of people that we harbor in America. And I want to say that they're not going to take over the campus. And the campus now is going to be part f the County and the State of Ohio. There is no sanctuary for these people to burn buildings down of private citizens" -- of businesses in a community and then run into a sanctuary. It's over with in Ohio.