Special Collections and Archives

KSU Administrative Offices records

Special Collections and Archives

KSU Administrative Offices records

Important Notice: Due to a grant-sponsored project to digitize materials from the May 4 Collection, in-person use of the May 4 Collection is available by appointment only. Please help us serve you better by contacting us in advance to schedule an appointment for access to this collection.

Kent State University Administrative Offices records

May 4 Collection -- Boxes 127, 127A, 127B

Finding Aid

Prepared by Barbara Bass, March 15, 2000; Updated by Haley Antell, October 2017

Inclusive Dates: 1968-1977
Extent: 2.5 cubic feet (2 record storage boxes, 1 half-size record storage box)
Physical Location: 12th floor


Historical Note: Kent State University administrative officers played a significant role in responding to changes occurring at the university within the context of a rising student protest movement, opposition to the Vietnam War, and tensions and conflicts among various people and organizations in the time period leading up to and immediately following the Kent State shootings of May 4, 1970. Robert I. White served as President of Kent State University from 1963 to 1971, a time of intense growth of the university’s curriculum and physical plant. White was also President when the Kent State shootings occurred and during their immediate aftermath when the future of university was anything but certain. After the shootings, White received thousands of letters and communications from students, faculty and staff members, alumni, parents, and unaffiliated parties. He was called upon to make public statements, issue policy changes, work with civil authorities, and plan for Kent State’s re-opening due to its closure after the shootings. Following White’s retirement in 1971, Glenn A. Olds became the next President, serving until 1977, during a time that would continue to see the university wrestle with the aftermath of the shootings and shaping the future of an institution that had undergone many complex challenges and changes in response to a horrible event. Two such challenges were how the shootings should be annually commemorated and how this event should be formally memorialized, if at all. Additionally, the administration continued to be confronted with strong student and faculty advocacy for fundamental changes to be made in how the university functioned. 


Scope and Content: This collection contains documents created and received by selected Kent State University administrators leading up to and following the Kent State shootings of May 4, 1970. It includes correspondence, meeting minutes, press releases, reports, speeches, and statements, which provide a broad view of the administration’s activities and responses to the shootings in the immediate aftermath and in the following years. The first series contains papers generated or retained by Kent State University Presidents Robert I. White and Glenn A. Olds. The second series is comprised of subject files that include documents from the faculty senate, legal cases related to the shootings, the President’s Commission on Campus Unrest (informally known as the Scranton Commission), and correspondence, speeches and statements by other administrators at Kent State University. Some materials in the collection pre-date the shootings, but are related to student unrest and protests occurring in 1968 and 1969. In particular, the files containing correspondence to and from White concerning Students for a Democratic (SDS) include letters sent from students, parents, faculty, and others in support of or opposed to his Administration's response to the unrest.


Restrictions on Access: Some information included in this collection is restricted due to the presence of information protected by privacy laws. This information has been redacted where present on documents in the collection. Un-redacted originals, in all cases, have been retained by Special Collections and Archives.

Related Materials: This collection contains a small selection of presidential papers that relate specifically to May 4, 1970. Researchers should also consult the papers of Robert I. White, Glenn A. Olds, and other Kent State Presidents that are not included in the May 4 collection. 

Processing Note: The records in this collection have been separated from larger collections of administrative records, namely the papers of Robert I. White and Glenn A. Olds. This was done in order to facilitate research on administrative response in the immediate aftermath of the Kent State shootings. As noted under Related Materials, researchers seeking additional contextual information about the White and Olds administrations should consult additional materials in their primary collections of papers.


Arrangement: The Kent State University Administrative records are organized into the following series.


Series 1: Kent State University Office of the President
Scope and Content: These files include correspondence, press conference transcripts, speeches, and statements from the Kent State University Office of the President during the tenures of Robert I. White and Glenn A. Olds. The materials include administrative responses to campus unrest and the activities of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) in 1969, and the Kent State shootings and their aftermath.

May 4 Collection - Box 127
Folder -- Contents

  1. Robert I. White: Correspondence: SDS: March 31-April 15, 1969
  2. Robert I. White: Correspondence: SDS: April 16-20, 1969
  3. Robert I. White: Correspondence: SDS: April 21, 1969
  4. Robert I. White: Correspondence: SDS: April 22, 1969
  5. Robert I. White: Correspondence: SDS: April 23-25, 1969
  6. Robert I. White: Correspondence: SDS: April 26-30, 1969
  7. Robert I. White: Correspondence: SDS: May-June 1969
  8. Robert I. White: Correspondence: SDS: July-November 1969
  9. Robert I. White: Correspondence: SDS: 1971
    Scope and Content: Includes a memo and documents related to the reinstatement of the SDS charter at Kent State University.
  10. Robert I. White: Clippings and Position Paper: SDS: 1968-1969
    Scope and Content: Includes clippings sent to White related to SDS, and the SDS National Position Paper for 1968.
  11. Robert I. White: Correspondence to/from Board of Regents: May-October 1970
  12. Robert I. White: Correspondence to/from Davis, Paul: May-June 1970
    Scope and Content: Includes a copy of a report conducted by  Paul Davis, Manager of Political, Strategic and Economic Studies for Westinghouse Electric Corporation. The report is titled "Interim Findings and Recommendations Concerning the Causes of Unrest and Civil Disorders and the Conditions for Reestablishment of a Non-Violent and Secure Atmosphere at Kent State University."
  13. Robert I. White: Correspondence to/from Davis, Paul: June-November 1970
    Scope and Content: Includes a proposal for a study with which Davis was involved in conjunction with Brandeis University. The proposal is titled "An Applied Study of University Decision-Making in the Context of Student Dissent at American Universities." 
  14. Robert I. White: Correspondence to/from Faculty, Staff: March-April 1970
  15. Robert I. White: Correspondence to/from Faculty, Staff: May 1970
  16. Robert I. White: Correspondence to/from Faculty, Staff: June 1970
    Scope and Content: Includes a letter and questionnaire sent by Kent State University professor Stuart P. Taylor to students regarding students’ opinions of the shootings. Taylor forwarded the results President White.
  17. Robert I. White: Correspondence to/from Faculty, Staff: July-December 1970
  18. Robert I. White: Correspondence to/from Faculty, Staff: January-April 1971
    Scope and Content: The majority of this correspondence relates to planning for the first commemoration of May 4, and includes several drafts of a statement released by the Office of the President in April 1970, titled "In the Family."
  19. Robert I. White: Correspondence to/from Faculty, Staff: May 1971; July 1971
    Scope and Content:  Contains statements written by Faculty Observers of demonstrations occurring in May 1971.
  20. Robert I. White: Correspondence to/from Government Officials 1970-1971
  21. Robert I. White: Correspondence to/from Nixon, Richard: May-September 1970
  22. Robert I. White: Correspondence to/from Parents: May-June 1970
  23. Robert I. White: Correspondence to/from Parents: July-December 1970; April-May 1971
  24. Robert I. White: Correspondence to/from Students: May-November 1970; April-June 1971
  25. Robert I. White: Correspondence: International: August 1970
  26. Robert I. White: Correspondence: National: May-July 1970
  27. Robert I. White: Correspondence: National: August-December 1970; undated
  28. Robert I. White: Correspondence: National: 1971
  29. Robert I. White: Correspondence: Ohio: April 1970
  30. Robert I. White: Correspondence: Ohio: May-June 1970
  31. Robert I. White: Correspondence: Ohio: July-September 1970
  32. Robert I. White: Correspondence: Ohio: October-December 1970
  33. Robert I. White: Correspondence: Ohio: 1971; undated
  34. Robert I. White: Correspondence: Form Letters: 1970
    Scope and Content: Contains samples of form letters sent by White. Due to the high volume of correspondence received following the shootings, it became impossible to respond to each person individually. Also includes a sampling of responses sent to White.
  35. Robert I. White: Petition and Resolutions: May-June 1970
    Scope and Content: Includes several petitions and resolutions sent to Robert I. White from students and faculty in the months following the shootings.
  36. Robert I. White: Press Conferences: May 1970
  37. Robert I. White: Report: “Summary of Major Actions and Accomplishments May 3 to July 3”: July 6, 1970
  38. Robert I. White: Report: Oral Report to Board of Trustees: October 29, 1970
    Scope and Content: Contains a transcription of a portion of Robert I. White’s oral report to the Board of Trustees.
  39. Robert I. White: Report: “Scranton Commission Report (KSU) – Grand Jury Comparison”: November 1970
  40. Robert I. White: Speech: Commencement: June 1970
  41. Robert I. White: Speech: Ohio United Press International Editors: November 14, 1970
  42. Robert I. White: Statement: May 7, 1969
  43. Robert I. White: Statements: May 1970
  44. Robert I. White: Statements: October 1970
  45. Robert I. White: Statements: 1971

Series 1: Kent State University Office of the President (continued)

May 4 Collection - Box 127A
Folder -- Contents

  1. Glenn A. Olds: Correspondence: July-August 1971
    Scope and Content: Includes correspondence between Olds and Peter Davies, and Olds and the Board of Christian Social Concerns of The United Methodist Church.
  2. Glenn A. Olds: Correspondence: September-December 1971
    Scope and Content: Includes correspondence between Olds and Peter Davies.
  3. Glenn A. Olds: Correspondence: January-April 1972
    Scope and Content: Includes correspondence between Olds, Paul Keane, and Greg Rambo.
  4. Glenn A. Olds: Correspondence: May 1972
  5. Glenn A. Olds: Correspondence: June-December 1972
    Scope and Content: Includes letters from Paul Keane and Greg Rambo, and from the White House to the parents of injured and slain students.
  6. Glenn A. Olds: Correspondence: January-May 1973
  7. Glenn A. Olds: Correspondence: June-December 1973
  8. Glenn A. Olds: Correspondence: January-May 1974
  9. Glenn A. Olds: Correspondence: June-December 1974
  10. Glenn A. Olds: Correspondence: 1975-1977
  11. Glenn A. Olds: Statement: April 27, 1972
  12. Glenn A. Olds: Statements: May 1972
  13. Glenn A. Olds: Statement: November 8, 1974

Series 2: Subject Files
Scope and Content: These files are comprised of materials that have been organized by subject or format.

May 4 Collection - Box 127A
Folder -- Contents

  1. Campus Unrest: Reports and Statements: 1969
    Scope and Content: Contains materials related to campus unrest in 1969: statements written by Kent State University administrators; a report produced by the Sub-Committee of the Education Committee of the 108th General Assembly of the Ohio House of Representatives; a report by Allan P. Sindler, Cornell University, titled “A Case Study of a University’s Pattern of Error”; and a report of the American Bar Association Commission on Campus Government and Student Dissent.
  2. Coordination of Operating Plans: Minutes: May 9, 1970
  3. Correspondence: Erickson, Carl E.: May 12, 1970
  4. Correspondence: Hall, Bernard: 1970-1971
  5. Correspondence: Halter, Donald E.: May 1970; September 1970
  6. Correspondence: Harris, Louis K.: March-September 1970
  7. Correspondence: Hayes, Jerry: May-July 1970
    Scope and Content: Includes correspondence related to the Internal Communications Committee.
  8. Correspondence: Lucht, George: 1970-1971
    Scope and Content: Includes correspondence related to the Commission on Commemorative Recognition.
  9. Correspondence: Mullin, Gail E.: May 1970
  10. Correspondence: Powers, Murray: June 1971
  11. Correspondence: Shook, Donald D.: May 27, 1970
  12. Correspondence: Urban, George: 1970
    Scope and Content: Includes correspondence related to the Commencement Committee
  13. Faculty Senate: Correspondence: May-August 1970
  14. Faculty Senate: Correspondence: September-December 1970
    Scope and Content: Includes correspondence and proposals regarding a faculty marshals program.
  15. Faculty Senate: Correspondence: January 1971
  16. Faculty Senate: Meeting Notes: July 6, 1970
  17. Faculty Senate: Report: Quality of Life in University Community: July 31, 1970
    Scope and Content: Full title: “Report to the Faculty Senate of the Commission on the Quality of Life in the University Community.”
  18. Faculty Senate: Report: Analysis of Special Grand Jury: January 25, 1971
    Scope and Content: Report titled "An Analysis of the Ohio Special Grand Jury Report, Prepared for the Kent State University Faculty Senate by an Ad Hoc Committee." Committee members were D. Ray Heisey, Kenneth R. Calkins, and Daniel C. Jones.
  19. Faculty Senate: Remarks: Wilson, Milton: June 25, 1970
  20. Faculty Senate: Resolutions: May 1970
  21. Intelligence Reports: May-June 1971
    Scope and Content: Includes intelligence information related to student activity leading up to and following the first anniversary of the Kent State shootings.
  22. Kent Citizens Counter Demands: May 1970
  23. Kent State University Board of Trustees: Minutes and Statements: May-August 1970
  24. KSU in Exile: Open Letter to White and List of Demands: 1970
  25. Legal Case: Federal Grand Jury: Correspondence: 1971
    Scope and Content: Includes letters to and from Kent State University students Paul Keane, Greg Rambo, and Bill Gordon, regarding a petition drive to urge President Nixon to convene a federal grand jury to investigate the Kent State shootings.
  26. Legal Case: Federal Grand Jury: Correspondence: 1972-1974
    Scope and Content: Includes letters to and from Kent State University students Paul Keane, Greg Rambo, and Bill Gordon, regarding a petition drive to urge President Nixon to convene a federal grand jury to investigate the Kent State shootings.
  27. Legal Case: Federal Grand Jury: Engdahl, David E.: 1973
    Scope and Content: Materials sent by Associate Professor of Law David E. Engdahl to Glenn Olds, including briefs filed in the cases Schroeder v. Kleindienst, and Gilligan v. Morgan.
  28. Legal Case: Federal Grand Jury: Paper: August 9, 1972
    Scope and Content: “Kent State University’s Petition to the White House: Ten Months of Deceit. Prepared for Paul Keane and Greg Rambo, by Bill Gordon.”
  29. Legal Case: King vs. Jones: November 3, 1970
  30. Legal Case: Krause vs. Rhodes: May 3, 1976
  31. Legal Cases: Orders of Injunction: May-June 1970
  32. Legal Case: Ravenna Special Grand Jury: September-October 1970
  33. May Day Coalition: April-May 1971
    Scope and Content: Flyers, leaflets, and intelligence reports related to the May Day Coalition. At least some of the intelligence reports were compiled by James Bruss, through Kent State University News Service.
  34. Navigators and Campus Crusade: Flyer: 1970
  35. Ohio House Bill 1219: Correspondence: 1970
    Scope and Content: Includes administrative correspondence from Kent State University officials, and analyses of Amended Substitute House Bill 1219.
  36. Ohio House Bill 1219: Correspondence: 1971
    Scope and Content: Includes administrative correspondence from Kent State University officials, and a brief from the Ohio Board of Regents Referee’s Hearing, Portage County, in the matter of Kent State University and Erwind Blount, student.
  37. Ohio House Bill 1219: Ohio Revised Code Sections: 1970
    Scope and Content: Contains a draft and copies of Amended Substitute House Bill 1219, also referred to as the Ohio Campus Disruption Act.
  38. Paper: Gordon, Bill: “Some Cases are Better Left Unopened”: 1973
  39. Paper: Lewis, Jerry M.: “A Study of the Kent State Incident Using Smelser’s Theory of Collective Behavior”: spring 1972
  40. President’s Commission on Campus Unrest: Clippings: May-August 1970
  41. President’s Commission on Campus Unrest: Correspondence: 1970-1971
    Scope and Content: Includes correspondence between Kent State University administrators and U.S. government officials regarding the Commission.
  42. President’s Commission on Campus Unrest: Notes: 1970
    Scope and Content: Notes made and taken by Kent State University administrative officials regarding the Commission.
  43. President’s Commission on Campus Unrest: Press Releases and Statements: June-October 1970
  44. President’s Commission on Campus Unrest: Public Hearing Summary: 1970
  45. President’s Commission on Campus Unrest: Scranton, William: August 19, 1970
    Scope and Content: Contains remarks made by Chairman of the President’s Commission on Campus Unrest William Scranton.
  46. President’s Commission on Campus Unrest: Report: October 13, 1970
    Scope and Content: Contains several excerpts from the report of the President’s Commission on Campus Unrest.
  47. President’s Commission on Campus Unrest: Report: January 19, 1971
    Scope and Content: Excerpts from chapter six of the report, regarding university reform.
  48. President’s Commission on Campus Unrest: White, Robert I.: August 19, 1970
    Scope and Content: Contains the testimony of Robert I. White during hearings of the President’s Commission on Campus Unrest.
  49. President’s Commission on Campus Unrest: Witnesses: August 19-21, 1970
    Scope and Content: Lists of witnesses to be called during the hearings conducted by the President’s Commission on Campus Unrest.
  50. Press Conference: Canterbury, Robert: May 5, 1970
  51. Press Release: Ohio State Highway Patrol: 1969
  52. Press Release: Transcript of Lecture by Barclay McMillen: May 4, 1970
  53. Press Releases: Kent State University Radio-TV Information: May-August 1970
  54. Press Releases: Kent State University Radio-TV Information: 1971-1974

Series 2: Subject Files (continued)

May 4 Collection - 127B
Folder -- Contents

  1. Publication: FYI (For Your Information): 1970-1971
    Scope and Content: Issues from May 3, June 14, July 19, 1970; April 26, 1971.
  2. Publication: Important Phone Numbers: April 26, 1971
    Scope and Content: List of phone numbers published as a service of the Student Body President containing contact information for student legal aid, medical aid, news, and procedures in the event of arrest or injury.
  3. Publication: Kent Earth Week Events: April 17-24, 1971
  4. Publication: Official Bulletin, Issues 1-10:  May-August 1970
    Publisher: Kent State University
  5. Publication: Ohio Education Association: Legislative Report: May 22, 1970
  6. Report: AAUP: 1970s
  7. Report: American Council on Education’s Special Committee on Campus Tensions: April 1970
  8. Report: Commission on Campus Security: June 1970
  9. Report: Davies, Peter: June 21, 1971
    Scope and Content: Full title: “An Appeal to the United State Department of Justice for an Immediate and Thorough Investigation of the Circumstances Surrounding the Shootings at Kent State University, May, 1970.” Davies submitted the report to the Attorney General of the United States and the Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division.
  10. Report: Hayes, Jerry: Emergency Operations: May-June 1970
    Scope and Content: This report was conducted by the Office of Internal Communication at Kent State University.
  11. Report: Louis Harris and Associates Inc.: “A Survey of the Attitudes of College Students”: June 1970
  12. Report: School of Urban Life, Georgia State University: “Campus Order: Problem Solving Without Violence”: 1973
  13. Report: Special Surveys Company: “Public Thinking About Kent State University”: 1969; 1971
  14. Report: The Staff Services Bureau: “The University Riot”: June 26, 1970
    Scope and Content: Full title: “The University Riot: A Brief Report of the Events that Occurred April 29 through May 29, 1970.”
  15. Satrom, LeRoy: Request for Troops: May 1970
  16. Speech: Davies, Peter: May 4, 1974
  17. Speech: Mendenhall, Warner D.: May 12, 1970
  18. Speech: Rhodes, James A.: May 3, 1970
  19. Statements: Matson, Robert E. and Frank Frisina: May 1970
    Historical Note: Matson was the Vice-President of Student Affairs and Frisina was the Study Body President.
  20. Statement: Special State Grand Jury: October 20, 1970
    Scope and Content: Joint statement by the Faculty Senate, Graduate Student Council and Student Senate regarding the special state grand jury report.
  21. Statement: Student Senate: May 3, 1970