Kent State University Shootings and Oberlin College, May 1970

"Please! Dissent is Not a Crime!" Oberlin student poster made in response to May 4, 1970

Oberlin student poster, May 1970

Oberlin students were involved in demonstrations against the Vietnam War in the 1960s. In 1967 and 1969 students protested the presence of military recruiters and blocked their movements around campus. American student protest intensified after the start of President Nixon's Cambodia Campaign with U.S. forces on May 1, 1970. The deaths of four student protesters by the Ohio National Guard at Kent State University on May 4, 1970 shocked the Oberlin community and reaffirmed their commitment to call for an end to the war in Southeast Asia. Students, faculty, and townspeople formed a steering committee to respond to issues related to academics as well as larger concerns that faced Oberlin during the remaining days of the school year in May 1970. On May 9, the steering committee invited Kent State University students to Oberlin to provide them with a safe place to discuss their response to the tragedy that occurred on May 4. Referred to as “Kent in Exile,” about 200 Kent State students and 25 faculty members came to Oberlin.

Kent State University Shootings and Oberlin College, May 1970