Family of May 4 Victim Says New Visitors Center Presents Unbalanced View of Kent State Shootings

Family of Allison Krause, 1 of 4 students killed on May 4, 1970, says new visitors center omits critical elements of shootings

The new May 4 Visitors Center opening to the public today at Kent State University has some opposition from the family of one of the four students shot and killed by Ohio National Guardsmen 42 years ago.

Laurel Krause, the sister of Allison Krause, who died on campus May 4, 1970 after being shot by guard troops, said the new visitors center does not tell the whole story about what happened that day when four students were killed and nine others wounded following a student protest against the war in Vietnam.

"Any exhibit is good if it’s talking about Kent State," Laurel Krause said. "But when it’s only more of the same cover-up, my only word on that is: shame."

Krause said the new exhibit fails to address several key elements of the shootings, including: a 2010 analysis of an original audio recording of the shootings that the analyst concluded includes an order to fire by the guard; the involvement of the federal government in possibly instigating the shootings and then covering up its involvement; and the role of FBI informant Terry Norman.

"This points to very devious situations going on at Kent State that the students were highly unaware of. They did not know they were risking their lives that day," Krause said. "There's no commentary about the truth of what really happened."

The $1.1 million visitors center, located in Taylor Hall near the site of the shootings, was designed by Gallagher and Associates, based in Silver Spring, Md., with input from faculty and students at Kent State. The actual contents — dozens of artifacts, photographs, articles and videos — and design of the center were determined over several years via multiple public meetings and analysis of the available historical records.

It features a three-gallery layout with the first gallery setting the tone of the 1960s and events leading to May 4, 1970. The second gallery explains in detail the timeline of events of the actual shootings, and the third gallery reflects on the shootings with videos, news clippings and statements given both past and present from witnesses, government and university officials and civil rights leaders.

Laura Davis, director of the May 4 Visitors Center, said the center does briefly address the audio analysis of what's known as the Strubbe Tape, so named for the student who's recorder captured the melee. But the center does not address what role Norman may have played, nor does it address Krause's assertions about the FBI's involvement.

"There are a lot of things about which you could say a lot more," she said. "So what we included were the best documented facts.

"There are a lot of different theories about what Terry Norman’s role in the event was," Davis said. "He may have something to do with the story directly. He may not. There’s a lot of different information about him, and there’s no certainty at this point in terms of what the documented facts were about what his role really was, other than he was working for the FBI."

The Strubbe Tape and whether it reveals an order to fire is briefly addressed in a film in the second gallery of the visitors center.

"Some accept evidence of an order to fire,” the film states. “Some do not."

Krause, who now lives in California, founded the Kent State Truth Tribunal in 2010. Its goal was, via three gatherings, "to record, preserve and honor the personal narratives of original witnesses and participants of the Kent State Massacre, May 4, 1970," according to its website.

Krause said that's another important element of reflecting upon the shootings that's left out of the new center.

"We’re not opposed to a truthful, information disseminating visitors center about what happened on May 4, 1970," she said. "In fact we support truth, justice for Kent State."

Today marks the first time the new center is open to the public, and the opening coincides with homecoming festivities at Kent State. A formal dedication of the center will be held during the annual May 4 commemoration in 2013.

Davis said the visitors center could evolve in the future to include new evidence and information about the shootings as it is revealed.

"This is a living story," Davis said. "A story about which we’ll probably know more in the future, and I’m sure that would be addressed some way in the museum. It does present a fair view. It relies on well-researched, well-documented, well-substantied information.”

Matt Courtman May 06, 2013 at 07:24 PM
I hope that this site brings justice.
Balertwine May 17, 2013 at 02:34 AM
Two of the students killed by National Guardsmen were not involved in the protests, were passers-by, and were 300 - 370 feet away from the National Guard. The National Guard were not surrounded by a rock-throwing angry mob. The closest student shot was 60 feet away from the National Guard, was shot twice, and survived. The National Guard opened fire in the direction of a parking lot 270 feet away at the nearest. Now if you believe in guilt by association, I suppose you can invent some way to justify shooting students who were not putting the National Guard in harm's way at the time of the shootings. After someone in a town took a shot at Saddam Hussein, his army opened fire and killed 140 townspeople. Now you know that maybe these students shot weren't the ones who broke windows or burned down the R.O.T.C. building a day or two earlier, but Rick, they had it coming, right? Rick, I've had a lot of problems with people in Kent, and I know you may or may not be the one who's caused these problems, but what is your address? I'd like to send the National Guard over.
Paul May 17, 2013 at 03:55 AM
This is the same story every year. Fact, how many of you slow down while driving by a crash on the highway? Gawkers are what they are called. If you wanted to be safe in a violent situation you AVOID the situation. To say those killed had no idea things were going on and just happened to be walking oblivious to the situation are lying to themselves. If you want to avoid being involved then don't stop by to gawk. Was this a tragedy, yes it was. This was kids vs. kids and things went terribly wrong. We all know what curiosity did to the cat.
Laurel Krause May 17, 2013 at 03:36 PM
ON THE EVENING of May 4, 2013 on the Kent State Univ campus, creators of the new visitor center at Kent State Univ STATED ONSTAGE they received $350,000 in a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities as they chronicled their funding. Yet in 2011 the Kent State University-reported figure was $300,000, so we looked it up & our findings are true: the announcement of the KSU visitor center's first major contribution was $300,000, not $350.000. In 2013 KSU's grant grew by $50,000. http://bit.ly/IR5p6v Then there's the >$800,000 raised by Kent State Univ to complete the $1.1mil visitor center they say came from satellite campuses of Kent State University. >$800,000 raised from satellite campuses of this mid-tier Ohio state university? In this economy? Amazing fundraising. What's so important for Kent State Univ to erect their expensive May 4th exhibits? Their sensory-diminishing Kent State Univ & government-stamped multimedia version of the May 4th Kent State Massacre exhibits LITTLE TRUTH as it shows 'not a care' for JUSTICE even 43 years later. Let's allocate money toward a credible investigation of what went down May 1-4, 1970 at Kent State Univ. Until the Kent State Massacre has its 1st independent & impartial INVESTIGATION underway (like the U.K. did for Bloody Sunday 38 yrs later), all we know about the May 4th Kent State Massacre comes from reports of the US government investigating itself & controlling the narrative, even 43 yrs later.
Paul May 18, 2013 at 12:37 AM
Laurel, I am saddened for you that you have spent so much time and effort in your life dwelling on an accident that happened. I lived in Kent in 1970 until 2011 and will say there are always 3 sides to every story. Your truth, My truth, and the Actual truth. As sorry as I am for your loss I am more saddened by all of the joy you have missed out on all of these years. It is time to move on and live YOUR life and not your sisters.


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