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Dero Downing on the steps of Wetherby Administration Building addressing the students.

Strike Western! was WKU's student response to the shooting at Kent State University May 4, 1970. Here is a timeline of events:

Tuesday, May 5 - Rally notices for Wednesday appeared

Wednesday, May 6

  • Meeting on Plaza, 11:00 to 1:00
  • Strike Western shirts appeared
  • Delegation visited President Dero Downing and Paul Cook. Group included: Braxton Crenshaw, Don Offutt, Billie Warford, ? Crumbacker a black woman from Milwaukee.
  • Vigil in stadium 6:30 p.m.
  • Wendell Ford addressed students 7:30 p.m.
  • Newman Center 8:45 p.m.

Thursday, May 7

  • Bullhorns issued to student group
  • Meeting on Plaza 10:30 to 1:00
  • Marched around campus, entered 4th floor of Grise Hall, also marched partially around Diddle Arena. Dan Sellers one of the main student leaders.
  • Dero Downing spoke to group from steps of the Wetherby Administration Building.
  • University issued statement

Friday, May 8

  • Met on lawn by Wetherby Administration Building. Students given public address system.
  • March around campus scheduled
  • Plans presented to Dean Charles Keown
  • 12:00 Dero Downing & Charles Keown met with group presenting resolutions: Braxton Crenshaw, Fred Santorelli, ? Walsh, Gerald Donaldson, Dan Sellers, ? Porter, Larry Zeilke, ? Butler, John Lyne & Douglas Alexander.
  • Marched around campus stopping at Grise Hall, Diddle Arena and returned to lawn at Wetherby Administration building.
  • Bill Nelson requested that Garrett Student Center remain open after hours, request denied.
  • Students camped on lawn all night.
  • Counterdemonstration, Speak-In group met.

Saturday, May 9

  • 9:00 WKU set up public address system. Speakers included two University of Kentucky people, a student and a professor.
  • Broke up in late afternoon.

Sunday, May 10 - 4:00 Braxton Crenshaw held meeting in Garrett Student Center.

Monday, May 11

  • 8:30 Dero Downing, Raymond Cravens, Charles Keown & Paul Cook met with group to give response to demands. Student group included Dan Sellers, Fred Santorelli, ? Walsh, Braxton Crenshaw, Gerald Donaldson, John Lyne, Larry Zeilke, ? Tichnor, ? Butler, ? Porter. Dan Sellers made remarks: "better be in a hurry," "we have people," "Molotov cocktails," "power politics."
  • Response to demands.
  • 6:00 Dero Downing met with members of staff and Board of Regents at President's Home.

Tuesday, May 12

  • 9:00 Stadium - moved to Plaza - Carl Braden of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference spoke
  • 1:30 restraining order & statement released
  • 7:30 Paul Cook & Charles Keown met with John Lyne, ? Porter & Larry Zeilke

Wednesday, May 13

  • Restraining order mailed
  • Daniel Taylor, Louisville civil liberties lawyer spoke to rally of 300 students

Thursday, May 14

  • Harlin & Parker retained
  • Volunteers elected new leaders: Jim Pickett, Randy Bowling, BIll Towery, Billie Warford, Edmund Sikorski

Friday, May 15

  • Evacuated Wetherby Administration Building twice
  • Small group on plaza
  • Restraining order modified

Saturday, May 16 - Volunteers brought letter to Dero Downing.

See more Strike Western photos.


Western Kentucky University, Demonstrations, Protest movements, Kent State Shootings, Kent, Ohio


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