The Turning Point of Kent State: an Explosion of Student Action
The events at Kent State shocked the Lake Forest College Community and forged a unified student opposition to the war in Vietnam. Students and faculty went on strike for three days after the Kent State Shooting, cancelling classes in favor of sit-ins, teach-ins, and a march on Fort Sheridan. Over 500 students from Lake Forest College, Barat Women’s College, and Lake Forest High School marching from campus to the gates of Fort Sheridan where they blocked the entrance for hours in the largest political action to ever take place in the area. The positive cooperation between many Lake Forest College students and local police during this tension-filled event led to the formation of the Blue Line, a way for students and Lake Forest Police to have better communication.
After the student strike in reaction to the events at Kent State, Lake Forest College exploded with new student groups and programming. Some of the newly formed organizations included:
A group of students already hosting draft info sessions on campus expanded their operations to the local high school and community.
Drug Information and Rescue Services:
The DIRS provided confidential drug counseling and information services to the student body, and was one of the most successful student organizations. They eventually got permanent offices and permanently employed staff and were integrated into the college’s health system.
Economic Boycott and Student Co-op Bank:
Students involved in this group created a list of affordable local businesses as while as a list of unreasonably expensive of discriminatory local businesses to boycott. They also created a Co-op where students could purchase school supplies and household goods at discounted prices.
Outreach Ecological Action Group:
Students sought to begin a campus dialogue about environmentalism.
Students got ahold of 20 typewriters and wrote to politicians everyday for the rest of the school year. They wrote around 30,000 letters.
A broad umbrella group that coordinated student action and hosted public forums and lots of speakers. Nerve Center won a National Award for Student Action in 1971, and was enormously important in keeping LFC activism alive.
A group of students that hosted talks with the Lake Forest Police to improve the quality of the college’s relationship with the local police.