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Transcription of the recorded statement of Joseph LaCamera conducted by the Commission on KSU Violence.
[Joseph LaCamera]: Yes, testing, 1, 2, 3. Okay, I–you have those three names and–
[Unknown Speaker ]: I have Tom Blair–
[Joseph LaCamera]: Tom Blair, Mr. Gaskins–Larry Gaskins, Vince Neaton.
[Unknown Speaker]: N-e-a-t-o-n?
[Joseph LaCamera]: N-e-a-t-o-n, right. Howard Watson. Rich Rymer.
[Unknown Speaker]: R-e-i-m-e-r?
[Joseph LaCamera]: No–R-e-y-m-e-r, or R-y-m-e-r, sorry.
Most of my staff in the halls, and Mr. Kerr–Bob Kerr–would have had contact with the Guard. And he can supply you with staff rosters if you like. I know that Jim Banks in Wright Hall had an episode with General Canterbury outside of Wright Hall one night, late. It was a rather volatile episode.
[Unknown Speaker]: What was the nature of it?
[Unknown Speaker]: Let’s get it from Banks. Well, the nature [unintelligible].
[Joseph LaCamera]: The nature of the contact? Revolved around–I can’t remember which night, whether it was Saturday night or Sunday night. A group of students saw a group of Guardsmen down on the side, and were heckling them, or doing something–yelling at them, flipping the bird to them, whatever, you know. This group was standing–this group of officers was standing out there, including General Canterbury. Mr. Banks went out to try to cool things, and he had his staff going around the hall trying to cool things in the building. And there was a verbal exchange between Canterbury and Banks. Banks tried to identify himself and explain what he was there for. He can give you the end results.The Guard–how much more do you want on that?
[Unknown Speaker]: No, we can go back now.
[Joseph LaCamera]: These other people can give you a lot of data on that.
[Unknown Speaker]: I think the nature–
[Joseph La Camera]: I personally didn’t have any negative encounters, except one that revolved around–this is kind of an interesting one. Right out in front of my office, which is on the ground level in Moulton, the students' rooms are right above us. There’s a student room right above us that had a peace sign hanging out of his window. And it was later on that week, either Tuesday–I think it was Tuesday or Wednesday of the following week, a jeep came up, right up to the front door and they tried to pull that peace sign down. And we–I went out along with Rich Rymer and asked them what they were doing that for and they said that that was going to agitate people. Well there–that was a rather negative thing, I thought–stupid. Then they left after we explained to them there wasn’t anybody there to agitate anymore and that it was also private property.
If you want me to get going later on on the search, I want to, because I’m bent out of shape about that.
[Unknown Speaker]: Alright, well, do you want to go back and pick it up now?
[Joseph LaCamera]: Ok, the sequence then on that weekend was, we got to the point where the second firing of the building was completed. Evidently, the group moved towards–Jeff, what’s the name of that shack over where they stored the archery equipment there on the Commons?
[Jeffrey Zink]: I know what you’re talking about, and I don’t know if there’s a name for it, but I think it’s just equipment shed.
[Joseph La Camera]: You know where that is?
[Unknown Speaker]: Is that the equipment shed?
[Jeffrey Zink]: I think that’s what they’ve been labeling it. I’m not sure, but I think that’s the way they’ve been labeling it.
[Joseph LaCamera]: Okay. That group went over there and set that on fire.
[Unknown Speaker 2]: He wasn’t there, Jeff.
[Joseph LaCamera]: I wasn’t–the report came in to me. It was about 1,000 people there, evidently, maybe more, or maybe less, I don’t know.
[Unknown Speaker]: Now, were you getting any of this by a walkie talkie or how were you getting it? By phone?
[Joseph LaCamera]: No. By runners, by phone, and over the police radio. We had three forms of communication. We had people on the scene. We had people calling in from various locations, and we had the police radio.
[Unknown Speaker]: Now, I assume we have the names of the people who were on the scene already, down here.
[Joseph LaCamera]: Yes. Most of the people I have given you. Plus students. There were about 10 students who were in and out and with me all the time.
[Unknown Speaker]: Is there a list of those somewhere?
[Joseph LaCamera]: I can give you those names. Bob Radigan.
[Unknown Speaker]: Radigan?
[Joseph LaCamera]: Radigan. Barbara Lane.
[Unknown Speaker]: Lane?
[Joseph LaCamera]: Lane. And the next one is going to get you. Leo Schargarosky. S-c-h-a-r-g-a-r-o-s-k-y. I think. Nancy Smolinsky, Dave Metcalf. I’ll think of more–there were a lot more.
The firing of that shack seemed to polarize the group and divide the group in two parts, and some of the other kids said that wasn’t necessary–it wasn’t necessary to set that on fire. And they stayed–there were about four or five hundred of those kids who stayed and tried to put that out, because the trees got caught on fire in addition to the shack. And they started forming a fire brigade and tried to put that fire out themselves, and split off from this other rather militant group, or volatile group, who moved on and that group came up through, between Prentice and Verder and on down around Terrace. And we came out of my–I saw this at this point, this group was–this was before the Guard had been on–before the Guard got on campus, and this group came around between the Education Building and Terrace and through the lot and out on the street. And they were–they had evidently been past Taylor. They had gone up Taylor and around, evidently. That’s when the rocks were thrown through the Stater office and there were–seemed to be selected things broken. Telephone booths, things related to Bell Telephone. Things like that.
[Unknown Speaker]: And I assume that–
[Joseph LaCamera]: And as they were coming down the street–down Main Street, they were smashing things as they were coming through.
[Unknown Speaker]: I would assume that for a moment you were in a position to see–
[Joseph LaCamera]: I saw that. I saw that. Yes. Yeah, that’s right.
That was a smaller group. By the time they got down there they were, I would estimate maybe 200 at the most–200, 250, something like that. They continued on down towards Burger Chef, and I believe that’s when they met the National Guard. Then they came back this way towards Moulton and between Lowry and Moulton. There were some things going on over there. Then they moved throughout the campus evidently and they wound up in the Rotunda–Tri-Towers. Okay? That was Saturday night, and most of them were located right there and the Guard had pretty well taken over the campus at that stage of the game.
[Jeffrey Zink]: Do you place any significance in the fact that they always seemed to meet in the rotunda at Tri-Towers?
[Joseph LaCamera]: Yeah, the information was given to me–most of these people who met at the rotunda at Tri-Towers, were not Tri-Tower students and were not known by the staff out there. Some of the people were identified, but it was very difficult evidently to really identify who the people were.
[Jeffrey Zink]: But you don’t feel that a number of those people were from Tri-Towers? And that’s why they, you know, oftentimes–
[Joseph LaCamera]: There were some. There were some that were from Tri-Towers. Most of them were not. They didn’t seem to know where they were–they didn’t know the campus. They did not seem to understand the nature of the campus, which is interesting. The kids that kept running back and forth said, “They don’t know the campus and they’re asking directions.”
[Unknown Speaker]: Would it be correct to assume that–I mean, would it be a worthwhile guess that maybe Tri-Towers would be attractive because of the size of the dormitories?
[Joseph LaCamera]: No. No, I think it’s the center where most of the action is. It has that reputation. As I said earlier, if you want to know what–how the students are thinking, you should go to the pit and just sit. That’s where it is.
[Unknown Speaker]: Are you through with Saturday then?
[Joseph LaCamera]: No. Saturday night–then let’s see–the problems with the curfew and people being–that were in halls that did not belong there. A lot of off-campus students were in our residence halls at that point because of their wandering around on campus and the Guard forcing them in, or telling them to get inside and off the campus, was a problem and we tried to get them to their residency, which was allowed then. The Guard gave about an hour’s time for students to leave where they were and go directly to where they were supposed to be. This group in Tri-Towers was a very nasty group as it was conveyed to me by Mr. Christian. And Greg Christian can give you a better accounting of that phase of the episode. He took away ball bats and pipes and all kinds of things from people as they came into that area.
[Unknown Speaker]: Now, in a sense the Guard–
[Joseph LaCamera]: Knives and other weapons.
[Unknown Speaker]: In a sense the Guard was working against itself if it was trying both to get people off the campus and in the buildings. Did you personally–
[Joseph LaCamera]: You said that. I don’t know if that’s the case.
[Unknown Speaker]: No, no. All I’m doing is I’m making an assumption here, but at any rate–
[Joseph LaCamera]: I assume that what they were attempting to do is to break up the crowds and get them off the scene.
[Unknown Speaker]: Alright, but at any rate, what I’m saying is–the Guard is getting people into buildings and also off the campus. What I’m wondering was, in the process, did you witness any kind of reaction from the students with reference to what the Guards were doing? That’s all I was interested in.
[Joseph LaCamera]: No. I personally didn’t witness any. I was told that there was a lot of hostility because the Guard was there. I think the episode–it was either later that night, or the next night with Mr. Bank–is probably a reflection of the attitudes of students that felt alienated because the Guard was there.
Now at the same time there were other people who were saying, “Thank God, they were here.” You’ll get both sides of the coin on that. To be honest with you, I was relieved when they were–especially when they came by my office, smashing everything in sight that they wanted to. I thought–I felt it was way out of hand. That the thing was way out of control. The building was going up in flames. You could see the flames from my office.
In the middle of all that–oh we had other episodes happen. Engleman Hall was evacuated because of a fear of a fire in the Breezeway, which was–turned out to be a reflection of the flames of the ROTC Building. We had problems with a lot of people who were upset about that. That’s probably a sideline to this. I frankly feel that Saturday night, the main group that was in Tri-Towers were the–probably the core of the operators, and probably were very much involved in the burning of the building. They repeated themselves Sunday night, and went back to Tri-Towers Sunday night.
[Unknown Speaker]: What size was the group Sunday night?
[Joseph LaCamera]: About 200, 250.
[Unknown Speaker]: Would you estimate it the same size as the group that sat down in front of campus on Main Street?
[Joseph LaCamera]: Yes, the same group. Same group. Absolutely.
[Unknown Speaker]: Are we through with Saturday night? Could I ask you just the one question? At any time during the Saturday events did you have any personal contact with any faculty members that you remember?
[Joseph LaCamera]: No, I don’t think I did Saturday.
[Unknown Speaker]: [unintelligible] Sunday?
[Joseph LaCamera]: Sunday. I’m not so sure I know where Saturday and Sunday leave off, because we went through the night and we again had briefing sessions with the staff in the morning on Sunday and we tried to find out what had happened and additional information, that sort of thing. The curfew evidently, the curfew information was different, and we had to communicate that with students. We had a briefing session–I had a briefing session with my staff. I think it was about noon time.
[Unknown Speaker]: Now before we get into Sunday, let me ask you a question that’s related to–starting with–was it 2 o’clock Saturday morning? When I think you said, when–
[Joseph LaCamera]: Late Friday night, early Saturday morning, yes.
[Unknown Speaker]: When you were contacted. From that time until whenever the thing ended, how much sleep did you get? How did you sleep?
[Joseph LaCamera]: I had about 3 hours sleep Friday night. Saturday night, maybe 4 hours–3 to 4 hours. My office was manned all 24 hours. We had a shift and it alternated. Some of us slept in the office.
[Unknown Speaker]: I see. Sunday night, how many hours of sleep?
[Joseph LaCamera]: Probably 3, 4.
[Unknown Speaker]: Monday night?
[Joseph LaCamera]: Monday night–we got sleep Monday night because the evacuation had taken place and the campus was clear at that point, so I probably got a full night’s sleep Monday night. Probably 6. Which is a full night for me, normally.
[Unknown Speaker]: Maybe it would be better to ask the people in the residence halls this, but what would be your impression, generally, of the amount of sleep that students got during these events? Would the campus have been in a state of turmoil so that they would also have had, probably too little sleep?
[Joseph LaCamera]: Well I would doubt if very many people had very much sleep during that period of time. Wouldn’t you agree? That’s hard to project–
[Unknown Speaker]: I wouldn’t know, I live off campus, so it didn’t really bother me too much. Well I wasn’t here Saturday night, either.
[Joseph LaCamera]: Well it would–that’s a projection. I would assume that there would be very little sleep going on.
[Unknown Speaker]: Yeah, I was asking–
[Joseph LaCamera]: Now the students, I don’t know. I’m not so sure–it’s been my experience for the last 10 years that students are up most of the time.
[Unknown Speaker]: There was a report–
[Joseph LaCamera]: You ought to come into a residence hall and there isn’t any difference at 3:00 in the morning than there is at 3:00 in the afternoon.
[Unknown Speaker]: Is that right?
[Joseph LaCamera]: Oh yeah. It’s constant.
[Unknown Speaker]: That’s a different world.
[Joseph LaCamera]: That’s what life’s all about on this campus. Sure. I’m biased though, I admit.
[Unknown Speaker]: That’s alright. Okay, do you want to pick up wherever you wish?
[Joseph LaCamera]: Okay. Sunday during the day there were a lot of rumors flying around. We again tried to organize activities for Sunday night. I might add that on Saturday night we had–Food Service was serving coffee and doughnuts and sandwiches and that sort of thing in the halls from 9:00 to 11:00, and we repeated that again Sunday. We had similar activities set up for Sunday night.
Sunday night’s episode was–there are segments of this that I am more clear about than others. The group seemed to meet on the Commons and started moving fairly soon and got over by the–between Dunbar and Prentice and Verder in that area, and evidently were met by the National Guard at that point, and tear gas was thrown. We had a problem in Dunbar because the gas got in the building and a lot of students that were just in the hall were gassed. You know, because of the wind blowing it right into the building, it was a bad situation.
Now the group, I guess went from location to location. They went trying to drum up support from other students to come out and join them. I don’t know how many were there. I don’t know how many students were there at that point. They wound up out in front of the campus on the street, and I believe the report was approximately 300, 350 something like that. At that stage of the game. They sat down in the street and I’m not too clear what happened there–I’m not so sure I know. Now I do know that the Guard, prior to the students getting to the street and sitting down–
[Unknown Speaker]: What street was that?
[Joseph LaCamera]: Main Street and Lincoln. Prior to that, while they were on campus and going from place to place, when they were between Eastway–between Korb and the Eastway buildings, they had been approached by the National Guard and told to disperse. They were violating curfew, and they would be arrested.
[Unknown Speaker]: Were they in fact violating curfew at that time?
[Joseph LaCamera]: They were that night, because the whole campus was on curfew.
[Unknown Speaker]: At what time? Was it not a 12 o’clock curfew or 1 o’clock curfew?
[Joseph LaCamera]: That was Saturday night.
[Unknown Speaker]: I’m talking about Sunday night.
[Joseph LaCamera]: Sunday night. Gee, that’s a good question. I’m not sure I remember whether–well, I’d have to go back and look at the information that we had. One of my people might be able to–Mrs. Sanders or Mr. Gaskins–could probably convey to you–we could probably look back through the literature. I think that the curfew was set ahead Sunday night. I don’t think it was left at 1 o’clock Sunday night. I think it was brought up under the–
[Unknown Speaker]: That’s one of my questions, if the students didn’t know–
[Unknown Speaker]: In connection with this, is there a file of any kind of documents in which it is reported, curfews–
[Joseph LaCamera]: I would refer you to Dr. Ambler on that, he would have access to that.
[Unknown Speaker]: I see.
[Joseph LaCamera]: Information we put out to the staff, Mrs. Sanders or Mr. Gaskins could give you that data. There are materials on that score.
Okay, well, as the evening progressed, there were a lot of rumors floating around about the post office being hit, about Bowman being hit, the Administration Building possibly being blown up, the Army Recruiters station downtown being set on fire, and the other ROTC buildings set on fire. At that stage of the game nobody knew what was going to happen. Now, the group wound up again in Tri-Towers. This time they forced their way into Tri-Towers. It was locked. The building was locked. Curfew was in effect, Jeff, now that I remember it.
[Joseph LaCamera]: Curfew was in effect, I believe, at 8:00 p.m. Sunday night. That’ll have to be checked out, but I’m pretty sure it was set at 8:00 that night for the campus and the town. The whole thing was under curfew.
[Unknown Speaker]: Now when you said they forced their way in–did they break chains or what?
[Joseph LaCamera]: The buildings were locked in Tri-Towers and the doors were secured.
[Unknown Speaker]: With chains?
[Joseph LaCamera]: I don’t know how they were secured. There was a group on the inside of Wright that let them in. Mr. Christian can tell you more about that. I believe they restrained and tried to keep them from coming in by holding the door at one point, and they forced their way in. This is a similar group to the Saturday night group. He can also give you the names of the seemingly leadership of that group. Now the group indicated that they were forced into Tri-Towers by the Guard. That was not the case. They forced themselves in.
[Unknown Speaker]: Whereas Saturday they had been forced?
[Joseph LaCamera]: They seemed to just suddenly appear and get in. The building was not locked Saturday night and they just came in it. They just came right in. They may or may not have been–it didn’t appear that way because they were organizing themselves and the information I had was that they planned to go to Tri-Towers and use that as an organizational center. In fact, there was a group of individuals Sunday night, approximately 20, who were in that little woods area outside of–next to Korb, on that knoll, that were in communications with the group in Tri-Towers and also with a person off-campus with walkie talkies, or some kind of communicative device, which is interesting. That’s information that was given to me, that may have been confirmed by the police. Will you be talking to the police about that? They may be able to give you that data. What else happened Sunday night? There were so many things.
[Unknown Speaker]: [unintelligible]
[Unknown Speaker]: Do you have any information about the injuries to students or faculty? Would you have been in any position to get any of that?
[Joseph LaCamera]: Yes. Well, I know of one student who was beaten up Saturday night. A photographer that was beaten up. That information was turned into the police at the time it was given to me. One person who was identified as participating in the beating of that person, was–I believe there’s a warrant out for his arrest. Or was a warrant.
[Unknown Speaker]: He was beaten by another student?
[Joseph LaCamera]: A photographer was beaten by a group of students, one who was identified and later identified more as having more involvement with the whole series of episodes.
[Unknown Speaker]: Could we have the name of the person?
[Joseph LaCamera]: Well, I don’t know how appropriate that is. That’s all been turned into the police.
[Unknown Speaker]: Alright, our point is that–we’re not concerned with any prosecution or anything, but we are interested in talking to people.
[Joseph LaCamera]: Well, I think the names I have given you will be very helpful to you, I really do. Most of us have been interrogated by the FBI and by other police officers, so–
[Unknown Speaker]: You see what I am saying is, we may not have access to some of their information.
[Joseph LaCamera]: I see. I do not have any idea who the people were that cut the hoses or who actually set fire to the building. There seemed to be quite an emphasis Saturday night on eliminating the photographers. There seemed to be a trend towards getting them off the scene by this group.
[Unknown Speaker]: To what would you attribute that?
[Joseph LaCamera]: Fear. Fear of reprisal. Fear of arrest. Whatever. Fear of identification, I’m sure. Because there were some people who were threatened, told not to use their cameras, if they did they would be beaten up. Some of the students can give you the names of people like that. You could talk to them.
[Unknown Speaker]: And we do have–
[Joseph LaCamera]: You could talk to the photographers on campus, they could give you that data too.
[Unknown Speaker]: And I assume that the students that you referred to before would be the ones you were talking about that we would contact?
[Joseph LaCamera]: Yes.
[Unknown Speaker]: Are we through with Sunday night?
[Joseph LaCamera]: Well, let’s see, Sunday was–I thought Sunday was quite volatile. The rumors that came in, there was–I’m backing up a bit, but there were a group of students in Moulton Hall, and you will want to talk to Bill [Zoller?], resident director of Moulton, who indicated that there were some students from Massachusetts staying in his building. He didn’t know where. They were trying to locate them. They were evidently in sleeping bags. That information was turned into the police. There was a license plate number turned into the police. It was a white car with Massachusetts license plates numbers. There were three or four students–one girl, involved in this group and they were outsiders, definitely.
[Unknown Speaker]: Would it be correct to assume that there is on file in your office or Dr. Ambler’s office, such things as–
[Joseph LaCamera]: That data?
[Unknown Speaker]: Yes, that data.
[Joseph LaCamera]: That’s right. The police would have that data also. Bill Zollar would also have that data.
[Unknown Speaker]: Again, we don’t know what cooperation we’re going to get from the police. But as long as the data is in your office, that’s fine.
[Joseph LaCamera]: Well, Bill is pretty much on top of it, in terms of Moulton, and Moulton is a pretty good sounding board. You’ll get all aspects of the attitudes on students from that milieu, as you would in most of the other halls for that matter.
Attitudes from students kept coming in also, we had a lot of–we talked to a lot of students at the same time. The communications with our halls was open, that’s why we were–you know, our bank of phones was used primarily for that, to try to understand and also to reflect what we knew was happening.
[Unknown Speaker]: When you say you heard all these rumors–basically where were the rumors coming from, from your students in the residence halls? From informed sources?
[Joseph LaCamera]: Yeah, from the group, from informed sources, from people listening, that sort of thing. From people–from staff. For example, we had–the rumors about what was going to be hit came in. The rumors about the Black students came in also over the weekend. It was–one rumor indicated that the Black students were going to do their thing Monday. But they were going to do their thing when they got their guns. They hadn’t gotten their guns yet. That was a rumor. Whether that was true or not, who knows? The Sunday night meeting, in Tri-Towers, of this group, who by the way also slept there all night–the Guard would not let them go, they were in there, and they slept in the informal lounge area, which is also interesting because if they lived in Leebrick, Wright, or Koonce, they certainly could have gone up to their rooms. The planning session that went on over there indicated that they were going to meet again Monday before the Black students met, and try to join with the Black students. Now whether the Black students were going to meet or not, I don’t know. I don’t even know if that ever materialized.
There was also a rumor, for example, about a carload of six Black students from Akron University coming in Speech and Music, and taking rifles out of their car. There was that rumor. I don’t know if that was true, I don’t know if that was ever followed up with.
[Unknown Speaker]: Speaking about guns. Are you aware or did you hear anything about M1s being taken out of the ROTC building before the burning?
[Joseph LaCamera]: No.
[Unknown Speaker]: And you haven’t heard of any guns missing?
[Joseph LaCamera]: No, I don’t know anything about that. I didn’t hear anything about that. Now maybe some of my other people might have, but I don’t remember. I thought all that blew up? Did the ammunition–
[Unknown Speaker]: The ammunition [unintelligible] 22 rounds for target practice.
[Joseph LaCamera]: Were there guns taken out of that building?
[Unknown Speaker]: Well there’s once again rumors to indicate that there were. Whether there were or not, I don’t know.
[Unknown Speaker]: Well that should easily be checked, because they had the parts of the guns left and they could count them. The ROTC probably has that information.
[Joseph LaCamera]: Attitudes about students pertained to the gassing on Friday night, Saturday night–some of the people I’ve given you the names of will be helpful. You may want to contact Dave Metcalf. He will be graduating this June and was involved Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and can give you a pretty descriptive detail of things.
There were other staff members also that would go into the group and try to get their own students to go back to their halls and get out of difficulty. People like Napoleon. Is Napoleon his last name? This is ridiculous. My graduate counselor in McDowell.
[Unknown Speaker]: Can you find out. His first name is Napoleon?
[Joseph LaCamera]: I’m sorry. Yes, I’m sorry. People like him were very active in communicating with students and trying to get the students they knew to stay out of difficulty and were effective in many ways. I think unfortunately though that with the presence of the Guard, we were hampered from doing much of that because we were not allowed to move about ourselves very well, and many of my staff did this on their own and with full realization that they might be gassed. In fact, a couple of my people were gassed. [Rich Ginici?] was gassed.
[Unknown Speaker]: This brings up a question–did the Guard ever countermand anything that you had–?
[Joseph LaCamera]: My friend, once the Guard was here Saturday night, we were not in control. We didn’t have very good control over the situation. They were calling all the shots and we were not.
[Unknown Speaker]: Did you attempt to give directions to students anyway, and if so, were these countermanded?
[Joseph LaCamera]: We tried to problem solve as best we could and that was difficult. We tried to get under emergency–there were emergency situations–we had one girl who fell and broke a toe, possibly broke her leg, I’m not sure if that happened or not, but I know she broke her toe and we had to get her to the Health Center. And things like that–they were cooperative, but it was somewhat tedious. What I’m driving at is, under normal circumstances–understand these were not normal circumstances, but under normal riot situations, we ask our staff to get very much involved in the group and talk to the students they know and act as a cooling force, very much like the faculty attempted to do Saturday night. This was difficult on Sunday. This was difficult on Saturday night. I think everybody felt frustrated. I think unlike a year ago, I think we were unprepared.
[Jeffrey Zink]: Do you feel we were more unprepared this time than we were last spring?
[Joseph LaCamera]: I say that with some reservations though because I’m not so sure, Jeff, I’m not so sure that we could have dealt with this very successfully.
[Jeffrey Zink]: What do you mean, “unprepared”?
[Unknown Speaker]: Let me ask something, Jeff, and see if this is what you’re driving at–are you suggesting that you were unprepared for the different kinds of things that happened?
[Joseph LaCamera]: We were not prepared for what happened.
[Unknown Speaker]: You would have been prepared for a repetition of previous things that had happened on this campus?
[Joseph LaCamera]: Yes.
[Unknown Speaker]: But I think you suggested before that obviously they were–I shouldn’t say obviously, but at any rate, they were not prepared for the thing downtown, which had never happened before.
[Joseph LaCamera]: That’s right. We were unprepared for the volatility that took place Saturday night. For the smashing of windows and setting buildings on fire. In a way, I’d be–well I don’t know.
[Unknown Speaker]: Wouldn’t you say that the signs had been given from other universities such as Ohio State and other schools where these types of things had begun to happen, I guess, it was really just about a week before that they really started to move like that. Did you feel at that time that these may have been signs for what was to come? Or do you feel that these were just isolated examples?
[Joseph LaCamera]: Well, I thought, I guess we live with the tension all the time, so it’s hard to pick apart one segment from another. Obviously we went into immediate action in our program in the residence halls. Frankly I felt that we did a better job through the weekend than we did a year ago in terms of our communications, in terms of our contact with students, in terms of some attempts to work some problems out and create some dialogue. I think we did a better job this time on that score. But for what happened, I don’t think we could deal with that. I just don’t think we could deal with it.
[Unknown Speaker]: In connection with this, would you reflect on the quality of the performance of the faculty last spring at this time, just generally?
[Joseph LaCamera]: Last spring I was more on direct line and involved with the groups and had more contact with faculty. Last spring I had contact with Tom Ungs and the faculty that we brought into the halls to help develop the dialogue. But understand that there was a longer sequence of time for preparation of that. We had essentially a whole month, the whole month of April to deal with that. This was a two-day episode, basically, and a much different kind of episode–much different kind of setting. Thursday night’s speech about Cambodia, is what the students were saying triggered it. I think that’s being used. That’s my own opinion. I think it’s a very volatile issue. But I think it was used.
[Unknown Speaker]: What do you think were the causes, then, of the violence?
[Joseph LaCamera]: The causes of the violence–it was my own opinion–
[Unknown Speaker]: That’s what we want. This is a very opinionated question.
[Joseph LaCamera]: I guess it boils down to some interpretation, psychologically, about what happens to people when they are polarized and forced to make possibly some decisions not only about themselves, but about others. I think there was a lot of manipulation going on. I think it had been planned–I think the burning of the ROTC building was planned. The signs indicated that to us. It was so well-organized. The diversionary tactics were incredible. The polarization of the community against the–the campus community was done very–with expertise. I’m not so sure any of us are capable of dealing with that kind of stuff.
[Unknown Speaker]: You think the outpouring from the bars on Friday night was–
[Joseph LaCamera]: Oh I think the police had something fed into it–I think they kind of just melded into it and created a problem themselves by their actions. This is what I interpret from the way students have described this to me downtown. That the police probably added to it. It’s a combination of things. I think the polarization, the attitudes widened. And then some decisions were made and they moved.
[Unknown Speaker]: In that we mentioned Friday night, this is a period over which we have very limited information I think. Besides Dave Metcalf, can you remember names of other students who reported to you about Friday night?
[Joseph LaCamera]: Yeah, the other students involved–Bill [Zoller?], Mike Teiman. That’s a new name for you.
[Unknown Speaker]: T-e-a?
[Joseph LaCamera]: T-e-i.
[Unknown Speaker]: I’ve seen that name somewhere.
[Joseph LaCamera]: He’s a grad counselor in Moulton. I think you want to talk to my other people because they also had contact with students.
[Unknown Speaker]: Yes, from these we could probably get a list of names. Police would help.
[Joseph LaCamera]: You want to talk to PJ Fanning. F-a-n-n-i-n-g. That’s the president of Manchester. You want to talk to Tim Chitwood. He’s an RA in Manchester. You may want to talk to a lot of the staff, because they can give you a lot of input–a lot of feelings about what they observed, what they felt, what students felt.
[Jeffrey Zink]: One other question now [unintelligible] once again your opinion, but did you feel that the, let’s say number one, faculty did–let’s put it somewhat on a rating system–did an adequate job, inadequate, thoroughly inadequate, or extremely good job in helping to control the problems of Friday through Monday?
[Joseph LaCamera]: Jeff, I would rather project what we all did, or what we all didn’t do.
[Unknown Speaker]: Jeff is asking–
[Joseph LaCamera]: I didn’t have much contact with faculty so I really can’t speak to that.
[Jeffrey Zink]: Well from the input you had coming in, did you have any information of a large number of faculty members involved?
[Joseph LaCamera]: Faculty getting involved? There were a large number, I don’t know what you mean. I know that there were faculty members trying to cool things and I know there were reports of faculty members who were somewhat inflaming. But that was also true of my staff, some ways. Emotionalism is something you deal with as best you can.
[Unknown Speaker]: Jeff is asking the same question I was asking before, I think in a different way. If you compare the faculty reaction last spring with this spring, how would you evaluate it, in rough terms?
[Joseph LaCamera]: I’m not sure.
[Jeffrey Zink]: Right, just like you did with your staff.
[Joseph La Camera]: Well, I would say it is not as involved as last spring.
[Unknown Speaker]: But you also pointed out the time factor–
[Joseph LaCamera]: The time factor I think is a critical thing. I think the circumstances were different. See I think we’ve got to look–I’m not so sure you can separate last spring from this May, but you’ve got to separate the activity, which was entirely different.
[Unknown Speaker]: Well what effect–now I’m going to give you another question–
[Joseph LaCamera]: I think things happened so rapidly and so quickly that the machinery never got going to get the involvement in there. And that to me indicated some real tactical planning.
[Unknown Speaker]: What about the same question with the student involvement, do you feel that the students were–leadership–I’m talking about student leadership–was as involved or less involved?
[Joseph LaCamera]: I think it was more involved.
[Jeffrey Zink]: More involved.
[Joseph LaCamera]: I think student involvement was greater this time and more effective–
[Jeffrey Zink]: Than last time.
[Joseph LaCamera]: Than last time.
[Jeffrey Zink]: One final question. Comparing–I believe you may have already answered this I don’t know–with the administration, do you feel that they were perhaps less prepared for this type of thing this time than they were for last spring? How would you [unintelligible].
[Joseph LaCamera]: As I said earlier, I don’t think we were prepared for what happened. I’m not so sure we could have been.
[Jeffrey Zink]: Do you think it is a type of thing that you could, say, prepare for in a–at a future date? Say next spring?
[Joseph LaCamera]: Not with what we had now.
[Jeffrey Zink]: So in your opinion, it would be entirely probable–
[Joseph LaCamera]: I think somebody’s–
[Jeffrey Zink]: If things remain the same, that the same thing could occur again? Would you agree with that?
[Joseph LaCamera]: Gee, I guess so, if the same conditions existed. If the polarization were such, if there was no relationship. Now let me get into that a bit, because I think this is maybe–well I don’t know. I think some things could be done, and I think that’s what we’ve got to look at. I think the community has got to be built. I think the mutual respect between students and faculty, between administrators and faculty, between administrators and students has got to be the focus of attention.
[Jeffrey Zink]: Wasn’t this brought up last spring, and do you think that anything was done from last spring to now to improve this?
[Unknown Speaker]: Jeff–
[Joseph LaCamera]: Jeff, I think things have been done. I think we’ve got to do a hell of a lot more.
[Joseph LaCamera]: Frankly, I think the community has got to be built. I think there’s got to be a feeling of community. I think this is symptomatic of a bigger problem within the society, a lack of feeling for one another.
[Unknown Speaker]: Jeff, I think we’ve got to move him on. He’s leaving town today, so. Let’s come back to these things later. Have you finished with Sunday?
[Joseph LaCamera]: Yeah, I think so. We may–
[Unknown Speaker]: Could I ask you the one question–the same one I asked about Saturday–did you have any contact with any faculty on Sunday? You personally?
[Joseph LaCamera]: No, I did not on Sunday.
[Unknown Speaker]: Then let’s go ahead to Monday.
[Joseph LaCamera]: I did on Monday.
[Unknown Speaker]: Then let’s get on to the agenda please.
[Joseph LaCamera]: Monday. Monday was a nightmare. We got to bed late Sunday night. Or at least I did, most of my–some of my people stayed up. We had about two or three people in the office taking calls, keeping the log, and I believe I got in the office about 9:00, 9:30, and people started coming in about 9:30, 10 o’clock, and we were–I suppose that we were pretty numb at that stage of the game, we didn’t know what to expect and kind of went through the morning getting ourselves together, and tried to find out where we were, which was not an easy task. Then things just started happening very quickly. I can’t remember the time sequence. We had the police radio on during this time and so we kept getting these reports and we heard what was going on via that route, and also the kids coming in and out. Well, it didn’t take very long before everything blew up, and some of our students that had been with me all weekend came running in and indicated that they were–had been shooting. Barb Lane said she had seen a girl shot through the neck. Then other kids came in screaming. Most of the kids that I worked with directly came right down there. A couple of the RA’s [resident assistants] came in. Peggy Gaydos, we put her in my office and she was in somewhat of a shock–somewhat shocked. We were dealing with those kind of things.
[Unknown Speaker]: Will your office have the names of the students that came in that morning?
[Joseph LaCamera]: Yes. It was about noontime–a little after noon, that’s when it was. Barb Lane, Bob Radigan, the same kids–Leo, Joyce, a girl by the name of Joyce, it’s Leo’s girlfriend, Leo Schargarosky’s girlfriend.
[Unknown Speaker]: Did you log people coming in, too?
[Joseph LaCamera]: Oh, no. We did the best we could. In fact our log is probably one quarter what the dialogue was. The first reports were that the Guard was–two Guardsmen had been shot and two students had been shot. Our information was–that’s the way it was over the police radio, for that matter. It was very sketchy. It was–I don’t even know how to describe Monday afternoon. Because it did not take very long before all of our phones went out. That cut us all off completely from our staff. We didn’t know what was happening. They didn’t know what was happening. So we started sending runners up to the Information Center and I went up myself. That’s when I saw Glenn Frank. At that point the decision had been made to close the school. We were setting up our plans for evacuation. We had to have help on communication and that’s when Glenn got involved–well Glenn had been involved all along, trying to cool people. He used the sound truck to go around announcing to the halls when they were to evacuate. And that was an unbelievable thing that came off pretty well. Within three hours we had all but about 150 people evacuated from campus. That was by 5:00, 5:30 in the evening. Mrs. Love can tell you about the happenings near Prentice if you want to talk to her about that. I assume that you have names of students that you can talk to. I gave you a few that would be helpful to you. You may want to talk to Dick Katz, K-a-t-z, who is the husband of one of my secretaries. He was just observing. One of the students that had been wounded was standing next to him, when that happened. My graduate assistant was also observing and standing near a student that had been shot. Her name is Sue Reis–Susan Reis. R-e-i-s. They were on the scene, they could tell you.
[Unknown Speaker]: Could I ask you one question about Monday? And maybe you said this and I missed it–did you have a briefing on Monday?
[Joseph LaCamera]: Well, we always gathered–my immediate staff had a briefing Monday, but we did not have a briefing with the resident directors and area coordinators Monday. We were in constant communication with them. They had what was–what we knew to be the facts. What we knew to be the expectations. The announcements in the halls to the curfew information, and you know, whatever, that was got to the students in the halls pretty easily. Now the off-campus kids may not have had this much information, I don’t know.
[Unknown Speaker]: I was just going to ask in this connection whether your office informed the residence halls about the governor’s edict prohibiting the gathering?
[Joseph LaCamera]: Yes.
[Unknown Speaker]: That was.
[Unknown Speaker]: How was that announcement made?
[Joseph LaCamera]: It was announced I think both over the PA system, and wasn’t there some printed information on the–I believe there was a combination of–I think there was some printed information on that. I’d have to check on that. Dr. Ambler can help you with that I think.
[Unknown Speaker]: That was my question.
[Joseph LaCamera]: He’d be the source of contact.
[Unknown Speaker]: Anything else about Monday?
[Joseph LaCamera]: I put out some information to students myself for that matter. That was printed up, there ought to be some copies of that.
[Unknown Speaker]: Now, one thing I just happened to remember–there was the rumor of the bombing of the Ed [Education] building and that was evacuated?
[Joseph LaCamera]: That was Monday morning.
[Unknown Speaker]: Yes–
[Joseph LaCamera]: I came in just at that point. That’s when I came into the building, to my office.
[Unknown Speaker]: Was there anything to your knowledge of the same nature with the residence halls or any other buildings?
[Joseph LaCamera]: We didn’t have any bomb threats in any of the halls.
[Unknown Speaker]: That’s what I mean.
[Joseph LaCamera]: We alerted the staff that that could be a possibility and we would not evacuate a building unless we were given permission to do so by the police. But they would check it out and they would give us the information as to whether to evacuate or not.
[Unknown Speaker]: But that did not happen?
[Joseph LaCamera]: No, not as far as I know. No, I don’t think so. Now, we had fire alarms set off Saturday night. While these people were moving, you know while this group went from the Commons into Tri-Towers, some of the fire alarms were set off, trying to get people out. That was a tactic to get the kids out of the buildings.
[Unknown Speaker]: In the residence halls?
[Joseph LaCamera]: Mmhm. That happened in Tri-Towers, that happened in Eastway, that happened in Beall-McDowell. It was used to get everybody outside.
[Unknown Speaker]: Okay, anything else about Monday?
[Joseph LaCamera]: Other than the fact that the evacuation–how that was handled, the scheduling of the busing of students to locations nearby, the finding of homes for people who did not have a place to go. This was all being done at the same time. We consolidated what was left out of the small group Monday night. There were about 100 people out there. A lot of those people were staff, some of the people were international students. There was a fear for the campus at that point, and in fact the barn was set on fire. Did you know that? A barn had been set on fire. In fact, right near where we had all these people consolidated, it was wild. Small group is outside off the campus area, in a somewhat–away from things.
[Unknown Speaker]: At which time there were also some shots fired?
[Joseph LaCamera]: There were shots fired?
[Unknown Speaker]: Yes, the–
[Joseph LaCamera]: I wasn’t called when that happened, I was notified about the burning of the building the next day. I don’t know anything about shots.
[Unknown Speaker]: Apparently a Guardsmen shot at what he thought were people who were running away from the fire. This then, being close to Allerton, affected students in Allerton.
[Joseph LaCamera]: I haven’t had any reports on that. Allerton is under my wing. The married student apartments are also under my jurisdiction.
[Unknown Speaker]: What time would that have been, John–the burning of the barn?
[Unknown Speaker]: 4:00 in the morning on Tuesday, I think–is that right?
[Joseph LaCamera]: Something like that.
[Unknown Speaker]: Is there any evidence to indicate how many people were at the barn that you know of?
[Joseph LaCamera]: I don’t know anything about that episode. I really don’t have any information on that. Jack Clemens, the Plant Manager, would probably–
[recording resumes after a short break]
[Unknown Speaker]: We literally got [unintelligible]. You could not talk to those people down there. There are about 20% that would sit and listen to you. The other 70% they’d just as soon crawl down–
[Joseph LaCamera]: There are a lot of different faces this year, Jeff. Many different people. A lot of people you wouldn’t recognize.
[Unknown Speaker]: [Unintelligible.] We were there for two hours. You couldn’t make a dent in those people. Not a dent.
[Joseph LaCamera]: There’s a young man that you all might want to talk to [unintelligible] Freeman, who is the president of Wright Hall, who has concerns and feelings about all this. He’d be a good person to contact.
[Unknown Speaker]: Where do you want to go now, Joe? To the searching of the Guards?
[Joseph LaCamera]: I guess that’s pretty clear as far as–I should think–do you have knowledge of that? Do you know the position of the university on that score?
[Unknown Speaker]: I’ve heard nothing other than the dorms were searched.
[Joseph LaCamera]: From the time on Tuesday to the end of the following week, almost 10 days, we were not allowed to go into the resident halls.
[Unknown Speaker]: You were not? Or your students?
[Joseph LaCamera]: None of my people were allowed to go into the residence halls. I was allowed to take the Krause family into Allison’s room to remove her things on Friday of that week. They were concerned about whether the FBI had been in that room. And I contacted the FBI for them on the spot and talked to a man by the name of Hale who indicated that they had not been in the room. The FBI had not been in the room. Now whether anybody else had been was something else.
[Unknown Speaker]: Can I stop you just for a second? [Unintelligible.] Now you said you were not allowed in–by whose orders?
[Joseph LaCamera]: The police–
[Unknown Speaker]: Was this National Guard, State Highway Patrol?
[Joseph LaCamera]: Well, I don’t know who the order came from–I think probably the campus police were acting for the National Guard at that point. The National Guard were in control. My people were not allowed to go near those buildings. I actually had two of my staff members ushered off the campus with bayonets.
[Unknown Speaker]: Who were they? Oh we already have the names.
[Joseph LaCamera]: Tom Blair and Howard Watson.
[Unknown Speaker]: Joe, how long did they stay in the Small Group housing?
[Joseph LaCamera]: We had people in Small Group housing all the way through.
[Unknown Speaker]: So that–what you say with the resident halls is true, with the exception of–
[Joseph LaCamera]: With the exception of Small Group. And it’s my understanding that Small Group was not searched. That’s what some of the reports from Small Group indicate. That the students’ rooms had not been searched in Small Group.
[Unknown Speaker]: Maybe this is an improper question, I don’t know–
[Joseph LaCamera]: Jack Vega, the area coordinator of Small Group could be a better person to talk to directly on that. We were given permission to let some of our staff stay in that area. They were not happy about it, but they let that go.
[Unknown Speaker]: What I was going to ask you was that, did you have a feeling why the Krause’s may have been worried or concerned about the FBI searching the room?
[Joseph LaCamera]: It wasn’t really the Krause’s as much as it was Barry Levine, who was with them at the time that they took the-- .
[Unknown Speaker]: Barry Levine?
[Joseph LaCamera]: Allison’s boyfriend.
[Unknown Speaker]: Incidentally, in talking with the boy and with the family, did you ever hear anything about that Allison may have been shot one place and that he picked her up and carried her somewhere else?
[Joseph LaCamera]: No, I didn’t talk to him about that. He was upset with me because I would not let him go into his building the next day and pick his things up. He thought I had the power to do that, which I did not. Have you talked to him?
[Unknown Speaker]: No. No, we haven’t.
[Joseph LaCamera]: He’s an interesting kid.
[Unknown Speaker]: It just seems kind of interesting that he’d be so concerned about the FBI searching the room so soon after–[unintelligible].
[Joseph LaCamera]: Well, the report had been made–I don’t know how much of this you know. There had been a report that Allison had a gun. Mr. Vega can give you more information about that. That information was turned into the police. Are you interested in such things like that?
[Unknown Speaker]: Yes.
[Joseph LaCamera]: Joe [Ewing?] is a–that information about Joe [Ewing?] out of Akron was turned in by me to the police. A student had been shot. He said that it was not a military bullet–[Dr. Ewing?].
[Unknown Speaker]: When you ask what information do we want–at this point we do not know, so we are taking everything we can get and then the stuff that is irrelevant, we will discard–
[Joseph LaCamera]: Yeah, the FBI won’t be–they won’t be–I don’t know what. They don’t feed back to anybody. I fed in a lot of information to them, but well–about violence. You asked a question earlier about, “Could this happen again?” and I have some feelings I guess about that. I think much has to be done and I think most specifically, students have got to be brought into this. Somebody has got to start working with the students. Very quickly. Very quickly. There is a very large pool of talent that is not being tapped–students and faculty. And I think that has to be built into it very early in the game. I think it’s a basic relationship problem. How do you deal with that? Boy, you got a tough one there, because it is going to be a tough road for everybody. I don’t think we need M1s. That’s going to polarize it more and more. And I think something in between, something maybe–people with–if you’re going to have a riot situation–they have shields or something that they take in, I don’t know. I don’t know what’s wrong with a water gun? Nobody gets hurt with a water gun. I suppose that’s another matter, but I heard a comment–I’m not sure I would know where this comment came from–that there was nothing between a brick and a bullet. Well, I’d hope that’d be not the case.
[Unknown Speaker]: Do you feel that–let’s get your opinions–that by immediately expelling a student that was known to insight the rest of the students–say in your dormitories, you had a student that was continually getting up–or a number of times, three times–he got up and said, “Let’s go burn the ROTC building.” He continually made speeches to insight the rest of the group to–let’s say in the pit–to go do some sort of an act like this–or to go downtown and break all the windows–do you think the administration should have the power to immediately expel that person, as to avoid potential violence?
[Joseph LaCamera]: I think you‘ve got to be very careful now what happens and what kinds of decisions are made. I would hate to see the pendulum suddenly be turned to a point in time where the arbitrary decision making takes over the concern for the individual dignity of the person. I would be very cautious about having that kind of power to say, “Because you made that comment, you’re expelled.” I think that’s dangerous business, Jeff.
[Jeffre Zink]: So you would not–
[Joseph LaCamera]: What I think what we’ve done here is we’ve come to a period of time where we’re trying to build into the academic community a feeling of respect for students and everybody else. Our approach to students in terms of problem solving, in terms of due process and those kind of things–I think it’s been an appropriate direction to take. I think we’ve gotten very legalistic in our approach, which is binding in some ways. I do think it’s appropriate for somebody–let’s say the university–to have the right to say, “You’re an outsider. You’re not even a student on this campus. You don’t belong here. You must leave immediately.” I think that’s appropriate. I would hate though to–I would not want the power to say, “Because you said that, you’re expelled from school.” I don’t think that’s appropriate.
[Unknown Speaker]: Well how would you–you must be aware of the type of legislations being proposed in the legislature now–
[Joseph LaCamera]: What kind of legislation would I like to see involved?
[Unknown Speaker]: To satisfy the vast discontent that the majority–that the other community outside of the university area here–Canton, Akron, Cleveland, those people that aren’t aware of anything, even in Kent–to satisfy these people who feel that there is a small group of real rabble rousers and we’ve got to get rid of them–how would you satisfy–because let’s be realistic that that’s going to come one way or another–
[Joseph LaCamera]: Okay, but what do you do–I guess you’ve got to make a decision as to where you place your values. Do you sacrifice basic freedoms? Do you sacrifice basic, fundamental issues here for the appeasement of an emotional set? You know what has happened as a result of this–everybody loses, and the repression comes right down. I think that there is need for some realistic legislation that gives us some tools for maneuvering. But I would hate to see our basic freedoms manipulated.
[Unknown Speaker]: But that’s what I’m trying to get to–what type of legislation do you feel we need?
[Joseph LaCamera]: Well, I think that trespass laws ought to be revised. I think we ought to be able to say, “Look friend, you cannot identify yourself as a student. You have no business being on this property. You must leave.” That kind of stuff. That’s a simple description, but it’s what I’m driving at–some kind of a restraining situation in some way, to cool the immediate situation as needed. I think some kind of a riot type of force might be effective. Not the National Guard as it is, maybe something similar to the State Patrol. And I think there’s got to be a lot of training built in–human relations training built into our police force.
[Unknown Speaker]: Jeff, let me do something, because we’re–
[Joseph LaCamera]: I’d like to add this, because it’s kind of important. The search issue is related to this, because it’s related to the polarization.
[Unknown Speaker]: Right, that’s where I want to go–let’s go back to the search of rooms.
[Joseph LaCamera]: I kind of–I expected that there would be maybe some suspects that would have their rooms searched and I probably would have given permission to have maybe specific rooms searched, had there been due cause, or reasonable cause.
[Unknown Speaker]: Without a search warrant?
[Joseph LaCamera]: Well, no. With a search warrant. But there’s a university policy on search and entry that was just recently accepted, recently recommended by the Residence Hall Committee, to the president and accepted by the president.
[Unknown Speaker]: Which is?
[Unknown Speaker]: We can find that, Jeff.
[Joseph LaCamera]: Well I have copies of that at my office if you want one, you’re welcome to it. What I’m driving at is that in that policy is a close-working relationship with the Director of Residence Halls and the police force.
[Unknown Speaker]: Now, can you–
[Joseph LaCamera]: Ok. Now, I kind of expected that there would be some specific rooms, maybe a half a dozen, I don’t know–selected individuals that would be searched. I think that’s a reasonable thing under the circumstances. I would not have ever agreed that there would have been a mass search of every residence hall room. I think that violates the fundamental principles of respecting the rights of others. And this is contrary to the university’s attitude on this and contrary to my attitude. That university policy reads very clearly that it does not support mass searching for the search of one item.
[Unknown Speaker]: Is that binding on state–
[Joseph LaCamera]: Pardon me?
[Unknown Speaker]: Is that binding on state laws?
[Joseph LaCamera]: That is accepted generally, and the building of this policy was done in reference to professional journals, legal source documents, supreme court’s attitudes on search and seizure, and was done over a year’s period time with a lot of involvement and the relationship between the search and seizure situation is pretty clearly outlined in the legal terminology.
[Unknown Speaker]: Can we get the sequence of events with reference to the search of the rooms?
[Joseph LaCamera]: I don’t really know that.
[Unknown Speaker]: Alright, ok, that’s what I wanted to know.
[Joseph LaCamera]: All I know is that on Friday–whatever date that was, that the prosecutor had his news conference, was the time when I found out what he had done.
[Unknown Speaker]: Sixth.
[Unknown Speaker]: I see. You had not been informed of the events, or asked–you had not been contacted with reference to any search of the rooms?
[Joseph LaCamera]: No.
[Unknown Speaker]: Alright.
[Joseph LaCamera]: Nobody in the administration was, because I heard Lou Harrison on that subject in the senate.
[Unknown Speaker]: Now let me just follow along. What do you think will be the consequence on this campus of the searching and seizure of the rooms?
[Joseph LaCamera]: It has alienated a hell of a lot of students.
[Unknown Speaker]: And what problems will this create in the future for us?
[Joseph LaCamera]: Well I think this is a basic relationship problem. I think the pieces are going to have to be picked. I think students are going to distrust. I don’t think the students–the residence hall students–hold the university responsible for this, but we’ve not really dealt with the off-campus students on this issue. I sent a letter to each residence hall student that he received when he got here to pick up his things. I don’t know if they all got that letter, but we made an attempt to get it to them. We handed it out as they came in along with some information on direction they could take if they had something removed from their rooms, which included a letter to Captain [Hiath?], State Highway Patrol, Schwartzmiller, of the campus police, and a carbon to the ACLU. We gave them that data also, besides my letter, but the off-campus students are going to need to know the university’s position on this. See, the polarization of the kids will add to the fire I think. We don’t need that kind of thing. It doesn’t serve any purpose to do those kinds of things because they could take the time to search out who those specific individuals would be that they want to search and do it legally. And whether the university was closed or not, I think is irrelevant.
[Unknown Speaker]: Now in connection with next fall for example, would you consider the–first of all, have we required any group of students to live on campus, such as Freshmen?
[Joseph LaCamera]: No, no students are required to live on campus.
[Unknown Speaker]: Okay, so then my question is irrelevant.
[Joseph LaCamera]: No, nobody is forced to live on campus. Under the circumstances, because of the fact that the community cannot handle students and not all the off-campus housing units are approved, residence halls are one area that are approved and obviously take up a bigger bulk of the number of students.
[Unknown Speaker]: Now, this is probably something with which you would not be personally–may not have personal information, but to your knowledge, were any of the off-campus rooms searched?
[Joseph LaCamera]: I’m not aware of that.
[Unknown Speaker]: Let me ask just a question that I–it goes way back, and I’m not sure you may have put it in here, but I probably missed it. If we go back to the rumors of plans to burn the ROTC building on Saturday night–what time did those rumors first start? Do you remember, about?
[Joseph LaCamera]: They first started coming in about an hour before it was actually set on fire.
[Unknown Speaker]: And once again, a question that I’ve asked before–as we go through these things and from where you’ve been, any other faculty with whom you had contact in any way?
[Joseph LaCamera]: I did not have contact with many faculty members during that weekend.
[Unknown Speaker]: I think that we’ve covered–have we covered everything?
[Joseph LaCamera]: Yeah, I think so.
[Unknown Speaker]: I’ve learned a lot.
[Joseph LaCamera]: There are a lot of things involved here. The week of the moveout is interesting. When we brought students back to move their things out.
[Unknown Speaker]: Yes, are there any things you want to point out on that?
[Joseph LaCamera]: Yes, we did a lot of work that week talking to students and parents, trying to build some bridges. I think the feelings that I’ve gotten from the students as a result of that contact–and there was a massive involvement with the kids during that period of time–helping them move out. Not only that, but talking about the situation and getting a feel for what their attitudes are. That you have a large number of students, vast majority of students who really want to make a contribution and I’d hate to see those kids forgotten.
[Unknown Speaker]: They want to help get the university back in operation.
[Joseph LaCamera]: Absolutely. We also picked up rumors that there is some underground planning going on. Some underground attempts to act in terrorist kinds of activities. Whether that’s true or not, I don’t know. We picked up some rumors during that period of time that it’s going to be difficult on campus, that there are going to be a lot of outsiders here that we’ve never seen before and that it’s going to be very difficult in the fall.
[Unknown Speaker]: This brings up something with reference to this quarter. I have an impression–and maybe this is what somebody told me, but there is this Christian group–whatever they call themselves–on campus that is working and somewhere along the line, I got the impression that included in this group are a number of people who purposely transferred to Kent in order to promote, in this instance, a religious point of view. Are you aware of anything like this, of any organized transferring to the campus for any purpose?
[Joseph LaCamera]: No, I’m not.
[Doris Franklin]: Would there be any record in your office of any particular conversations with students and parents. Or would members of your staff simply have in their heads recollections?
[Joseph LaCamera]: Oh they’d have it in their heads, primarily, Dr. Franklin. I spent a lot of time–I talked to each of the hall presidents–the majority of the hall presidents during that week and they’re very committed to working with everybody trying to keep things organized and cool. Pardon me–you’re aware of the work that’s been going on this year in preparation for the faculty-associate program that my graduate assistant, Sue Reis, has been–in fact she’s been working on it for two quarters in preparation for fall. I think it’s essential that that get off the ground. I think it’s just critical that that get off the ground. I guess I have a personal bias to the importance of the relationship between the institution and the students. And when I use the word “institution,” I mean all aspects of the institution–faculty, staff, everyone–committing themselves to the students.
[Doris Franklin]: You’d be surprised how many of our faculty, though, resist that simple commitment to the priority of teaching as their function.
[Unknown Speaker]: Do you want this on any longer?×
Recorded statement of Joseph LaCamera conducted by the CKSUV. LaCamera was Director of Housing at time of shootings. There is no introduction to recording, and he does not state his name on recording. He begins by listing the names of people that might be able to provide the Commission with information. He starts his own observations at around the 3:00 minute mark of the recording. Commission members ask questions throughout. He discusses his observations of events of the May 1-3 weekend, including ROTC fire and timing of curfews, and presence of "outsiders" on campus on Saturday and Sunday nights. He talks about rumors circulating around campus during that time period and about how once the Guard was on campus, local authorities lost control of communication. He then discusses Monday occurrences--who came into the Housing office and what they were hearing from people coming in and over the police radio. He also talks about the evacuation of campus after the shootings as well as searches of residence halls. An unidentified person occasionally answers questions on the recording, as well. The interviewee hits or vibrates microphone throughout, and intermittent tone and heavy traffic/equipment can be heard in background during recording.
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|Subcollection||Commission on KSU Violence records|
Commissions, Hearings, Tribunals
|May 4 Provenance||
May 4 Collection