News & Comment
I N T E R A C T I V E D E S I G N F O R U M
Issue 11 | May 2000 | Updated 5-11-00
Thirty years ago I was setting up new displays in the front windows of the May Co. in downtown Cleveland. A co-worker burst in with the news that students had been shot at a demonstrations at Kent State. Early reports said a National Guardsman had been shot too.
The news stunned me in the same way that the news about John F. Kennedy's assassination shocked most Americans. I had graduated from college only four months earlier. Had I been a student at Kent State I surely would have been at the demonstration. I might have been on the list of dead or wounded. But I wasn't and I didn't and now I'm a middle-aged man who doesn't want to forget what happened.
It seems to me that the best that can be said of death, especially when it is violent and unnecessary, is that the living learn something from it. The "lessons" of Kent State have been debated for years, and will continue to be. Although it still makes me sick to hear it, I no longer have the heart for endless arguments with people who say "they should have killed more of them."
The killings revealed a dark hatred and fear in the hearts of some that I can't comprehend. While I'd like to believe that we learned tolerance for opposing opinions, I'm afraid we've learned only that confronting unarmed demonstrators with loaded rifles makes good television but bad public relations.
So the value of a commemorative candlelight march is dubious. We were a unremarkable-looking line of walkers. Yet as we passed The Robin Hood and the Brady Cafe a few patrons and workers stood outside and watched us go by. A couple of frat boys sat on their porch. Small groups of students clustered at their dorm windows and on doorsteps here and there.
What can be said for sure is that some people stopped what they were doing for a few moments and thought about a sunny day in early May when American soldiers shot M-1 rifles into a crowd of young people, killing four. To me, that remembrance seems terribly important. Thank you for allowing me to share it with you.
- Al Wasco 5/4/00
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ahead of the curve
The program is ranked seventh, after new-media programs at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; New York University; Full Sail, Winter Park, Fla.; University of California, Los Angeles; Art Center, College of Design, Pasadena, Calif.; and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Rounding out the list are University of California, San Diego; DigiPen Institute of Technology, Redmond, Wash.; and the Vancouver (Canada) Film School.
Incidentally, the Indianapolis campus (Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis) has its own New Media program, begun only a couple of years ago and now quickly gathering steam. The contact person is Darrell Bailey.
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