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Sandor Lubisch, Oral History
Recorded: October 13, 2017
Interviewed by L’ael Hughes-Watkins
Transcribed by the Kent State University Research and Evaluation Bureau
[Interviewer]: This is L’ael Hughes-Watkins speaking on October 13th, 2017 at Kent State University in the Department of Special Collections and Archives as part of the May 4 Oral History Project, I will be talking with Sandor Lubisch. I will begin with a few biographical questions. Sandor, where were you born?
[Sandor Lubisch]: I was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
[Interviewer]: And is that where you grew up as well?
[Sandor Lubisch]: Yes, I grew up in the urban area of Pittsburgh.
[Interviewer]: And then what brought you to Kent State University?
[Sandor Lubisch]: Well, at that time Pennsylvania, this is 1967 when I graduated high school. At that time there was not enough space in the Pennsylvania state universities for all the baby boomers like me.
[Sandor Lubisch]: So there was a reciprocal agreement between Ohio and Pennsylvania and at that time we were not charged the full out-of-state tuition to attend Ohio universities. So it was very affordable to come to Kent State, and I visited Kent State during my junior year in high school and liked the campus, thought it would be a good environment for me, and that’s why I applied there.
[Interviewer]: Did you have time to visit within the city of Kent before you made your final decision?
[Sandor Lubisch]: Yes.
[Interviewer]: What was your major when you—?
[Sandor Lubisch]: I first started in the College of Fine and Professional Arts with a major in broadcasting and then during my sophomore year, I switched to the College of Education with an English major and Speech minor. I made the decision to switch because at that time in broadcasting, this was before satellite and cable, and the job opportunities were very minimal and my father was insistent that my goal in college was to come out and graduate with some type of license that would allow me to go to work. So that’s why I switched to the College of Education.
[Interviewer]: So you said you graduated high school in '67, so did you come to Kent State in '68, in the spring of '68 or fall of '68?
[Sandor Lubisch]: I started Kent State in the fall of '67.
[Interviewer]: '67, okay.
[Sandor Lubisch]: So I was there from '67 through '71.
[Interviewer]: So, I know a lot of protests were taking place, specifically late '68, on campus, do you remember any of the protests and what the themes behind those protests were?
[Sandor Lubisch]: Well, in 1968, the first thing that I recall was the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King and I was very proud to say that a very mixed racial group of a large number of students marched through downtown Kent and went to Kent’s American Methodist AME, African American church for the service and I did participate in that. So that took place. There were also, particularly when President Nixon became president, there were a number of antiwar protests about the Vietnam War. I did participate in some of those marches on the city streets.
[Interviewer]: So would you say—you said you participated some, so would you consider yourself politically active?
[Sandor Lubisch]: I was politically active but not totally, okay. I don’t want to give the impression that was my main goal in college. My main goal in college was to pass my classes.
[Sandor Lubisch]: So that was my priority was my classwork, but if there was an occasion where I wanted to participate and I had the time to do so, I did.
[Interviewer]: Would you say your family was politically active?
[Sandor Lubisch]: No. Well, my father was a union man, so he was active with his trade union, both of my parents were Democrats, but they weren’t real active in the Democratic Party, they always voted, but my dad was very active as an officer in his trade union.
[Interviewer]: Do you remember how you viewed the Vietnam War?
[Sandor Lubisch]: I was very opposed to it.
[Interviewer]: And your family?
[Sandor Lubisch]: My family was, too.
[Interviewer]: Do you remember the environment in your classes when, you know, moving forward to 1970, do you remember the environment in your classes regarding the attitudes pertaining to the antiwar movement?
[Sandor Lubisch]: Okay, in the classes that I had, to be frank with you, this was not a focus of conversation.
[Sandor Lubisch]: The classes were primarily for academic study of that particular subject area, at least the classes I had, the antiwar movement and protesting was not discussed.
[Interviewer]: So, you would say it was more of a—do you remember any discourse outside your classes?
[Sandor Lubisch]: Well, of course, outside the classes there was. I don’t know if you’re going to go into the various events of May 4th, but if I’m jumping ahead just stop me, okay? But let’s say Thursday evening during Nixon’s speech, I lived in Tri-Towers, I lived in Leebrick Hall, but I was also part of the dorm staff. I was one of the students who worked part-time in the reception center downstairs behind the desk. That Thursday evening—there was an area at that time, maybe they still have it in Tri-Towers, but there was a TV room. And, of course, at 9 o’clock that evening, that place was packed with the residents from those three dorms to watch Nixon’s broadcast about moving into Cambodia. So, there was a great deal of discussion during and even after his speech in that dorm area.
[Interviewer]: Can you recall some of that discussion?
[Sandor Lubisch]: Well, there was a discussion that was mentioned that the next day there would be protesting at the Victory Bell, that would’ve been on Friday. That information got spread.
[Interviewer]: Was it a challenge in the dorms, after that announcement was made, can you remember just the feeling being in the dorms?
[Sandor Lubisch]: I don’t know what you mean by challenge, there was a lot of anger expressed from the students who had watched that broadcast about the expansion of the war into Cambodia and the need to protest and participate in the protests the next day.
[Interviewer]: So, can you tell me what you recall starting May 1?
[Sandor Lubisch]: Yes, okay. Well, Friday—one of the things that doesn’t really get emphasized as much as I think it should, is that on Monday was the beginning of midterms, right? And of course when there’s midterm exams, like if you were a student now, you know that that adds a lot of stress and tension. Anyway.
[Interviewer]: Yes. (Laughs)
[Sandor Lubisch]: That’s all part of the university culture. And so, for me on Friday, after my classes ended, I left with a few friends to go to a friend’s home in Canton so that I could study for exams for Monday. So, I actually left campus Friday afternoon and did not come back until late Sunday morning.
Now, we did hear on the news Saturday evening about the ROTC Building and the fire and so forth. So, that was the first thing I witnessed about that was when we came back from Canton and I returned to campus on Sunday.
[Interviewer]: What did you—what were your initial reactions or feelings when you heard about what happened?
[Sandor Lubisch]: Well, I was very much surprised that it escalated that way. I was also surprised that the National Guard showed up instead of, you know, state police, firemen, so it just really—I was very angry and appalled, I felt like our campus was invaded by the National Guard. I did not understand why it was necessary to bring in the National Guard. So I very angry about that. You did see the jeeps and the National Guard's presence on campus, I just felt the—I was very angry that we were invaded.
[Interviewer]: At that point, do you recall any discussion trying to garner why there was that presence at that level with the National Guardsmen on campus?
[Sandor Lubisch]: Not in the dorm area, I think the main discussion I recall hearing from the students was their surprise that the Guard was there and the extent of their presence. I mean wherever you went, they were there. If you walked around campus, their presence was there. And, of course, everybody, at least in the dorm area, was trying to study and prepare for the next day for exams. And when you think you’re ready, I do wanna talk about Sunday evening.
[Interviewer]: No, you can go right ahead and go into Sunday evening.
[Sandor Lubisch]: All right, because this is also not really mentioned too much. I just finished reading Howard Means’s book, 67 Shots. I think he was the first one that really talked about Sunday evening back in the dorm area with the helicopters and the jeeps. I was very pleased to see somebody finally talk about that because, at least, I know Sunday evening seems like all the reports talk about the protesting at the front gate, the front gate of campus. But nothing is ever been talked about what happened in the back of campus with all the helicopters.
[Sandor Lubisch]: Now, you gotta keep in mind, this is the residential area, students are trying to study, and about 8 o’clock in the evening after curfew, all we could hear were the helicopters overhead. Of course, out of curiosity, everybody’s gonna be looking out the windows to see what’s going on. My room in Leebrick Hall, I can’t remember what floor I was on, but I was on one of the upper floors and—my window, I could see Eastway Center, I could see Korb Hall, so I could look out, there was those two driveways that went from Tri-Towers over to Eastway Center and Korb Hall, so I could see those drives. And of course there were jeeps going up and down and the National Guard presence was there and it was loud. It interfered with everybody trying to study and of course it aroused everybody’s curiosity as to what was going on there.
[Interviewer]: Do you remember seeing any students—I know there’s images at some point, students speaking or trying to interact with the National Guardsmen, do you recall?
[Sandor Lubisch]: I did not see—well, okay. After, there were some students who felt they needed to violate the curfew and leave the dorms at 8 o’clock to go down to the protests. That I know was being discussed. If they did go, they went out through the front of the dorm area, and I could not see them leaving, well at least where my room was. Now on these driveways that I could see, I did not see any students on those driveways, all I remember seeing are the jeeps.
[Sandor Lubisch]: But, what I also saw happening were the students opening up their windows and yelling at the Guard, throwing things out the windows at the Guard, I did see some students with like plastic bags throwing things at them. This went on for at least a half hour. Maybe more. I can’t recall how long this all went on. But it was a major disturbance during the evening study time.
[Interviewer]: Was there any response by the National Guardsmen or any police officers?
[Sandor Lubisch]: No, they were just continuing with their helicopters and the jeeps going up and down the driveway. But there was a response from the dorm supervisor.
[Sandor Lubisch]: I don’t know if it was just the supervisor of the residential supervisor of Tri-Towers or if he and the supervisor from Twin-Towers or Eastway Center, if all three of them handled this. But there was a call out to all the dorm staff, which included me, and it was a very well organized by the dorm supervisor, the RAs, we were told that the National Guard had agreed with the supervisor that if everybody would shut their windows and close their curtains, that the National Guard would leave. We were asked to go room to room throughout the—I was called to go room to room to get everybody to close their drapes and windows. It probably took us about a half hour or more to get all the drapes closed. I also saw the same thing happening over at Korb Hall. All the curtains got closed and as soon as the Guard noticed that all the windows were closed and all the drapes were drawn, they left and the helicopters left. I don’t recall any of that being mentioned in any of the reports.
[Interviewer]: Yeah, that’s new as far as what I’ve been—done interviews, so thank you for that.
[Sandor Lubisch]: Yeah, so the reason why I want to emphasize that is that because you had the next day with exams and now you’ve—because the National Guard’s presence back in the dorm area raising everybody’s curiosity and anger, that’s gonna raise more curiosity of what’s going to happen the next day.
Now another thing that doesn’t get mentioned that much is what took place the next morning during class time.
[Interviewer]: This is on May 4?
[Sandor Lubisch]: This is on May 4th.
Now, Howard Means’s book does talk a little bit about some of the professors having discussions with their classes about Vietnam and about the Guard and what has taken place. I don’t know about what went on in other classes, I was in the Voice and Diction class and my professor went forward with the exam. There was no discussion, we walked in and it was class as normal and we had our exam. I was—I did not feel I was prepared and I was annoyed but I didn’t say anything, nobody said anything that he went forward with the exam. Now I don’t know what happened elsewhere on campus, I don’t know if other professors did the same thing, if they went forward with their exam, but mine did. I don’t remember his name, okay. But—
So, I want to talk a little bit about after the exam when I left the Speech and—well, it's now called the Music and Theater building I believe, that’s what it’s called now. I’m looking at a map. It’s now called—yeah now it’s called the Center for the Performing Arts. At that time, it was the Speech and Music and Theater building. So that’s where my exam was.
I want to talk a little bit about Sandy Scheuer.
[Sandor Lubisch]: Okay. Because I knew Sandy. I wasn’t, say, one of her closest friends, but during my freshman year, Eastway Center, all four dorms were freshman dorms. I was in Manchester Hall. Sandy was in Fletcher. She’s Jewish, I’m Jewish. Her name is Sandy, all my friends called me Sandy. She was from Youngstown, my grandmother, when she was still alive, lived in Youngstown. So we had a lot of things in common. I don’t know who introduced us, but we kinda met each other during that freshman year, that first term in the freshman dorms. We became friends, okay, any time we would see each other it was always, “Hello, how are you, what’s going on?” That kind of thing. Even as years progressed and sophomore year and junior year, whenever I would see Sandy, there was always the big smile on her face, the greeting, always called me by name, I called her by name, and we always had that kind of interaction with each other.
A couple years ago, there was a CNN news feature on Kent State and one of Sandy’s closest girlfriends mentioned that on May 4th, Sandy had just left her art class and was on her way to the Speech and Hearing Center when she stopped in the Commons during the shooting event. And I don’t want to get into a big debate with her friend because her friend probably knew her much better than I did, but I don’t recall it that way.
[Sandor Lubisch]: Okay, what I recall, it’s very vivid in my mind, is that when I exited the exam from the Speech and Hearing Center, I turned right to walk down, I guess it’s called—I’m looking at the map, it’s called Theater Drive and that connects to Prentice Drive. That’s the way I was walking because I had some time until my next exam and I was gonna go like I always did to go to the Commons, go to the Hub, to meet my friends and have lunch. That’s where I was headed. As I was walking, Sandy also exited the Speech and Hearing Center, this is what I recall, and we had our little conversation as we both walked down Theater Drive and Prentice Drive, at the end of Prentice Drive, you can go two directions. You can go up to Taylor Hall, or at that time, they had steps that went down towards the Commons, towards the Hub, now I think they’ve changed it to a ramp. I remember Sandy going to the right as we said goodbye, she went to the right, I went to the left. I was particularly curious as to what was happening in the Commons by the Victory Bell, so I stood up on the upper part of Blanket Hill by Taylor Hall.
When I later learned, the next day, that Sandy was killed, I always wondered how she got from where I left her, and of course in our yearbook, and you even have this in your Visitors Center, there’s the photo of Sandy on the terrace holding her books against her bosom watching what was going on—how she got from there to where she got shot in the parking lot. Of course, it wasn’t until years later, when the campus finally put the markers in the parking lot, that I actually knew what spot Sandy was shot at. And I always wondered how she got over there.
So, I don’t want to get into a major disagreement with one of her close friends but I recall that Sandy was leaving the Speech and Hearing Center and on her way to her art class.
[Interviewer]: Well, thank you for adding that, I know accounts always vary but it’s always interesting to hear new information.
[Sandor Lubisch]: Okay, all right now I want to talk about the actual shooting, okay. When the tear gas was sent towards the student area by the Victory Bell and when the students were throwing it back, the gas permeated up the hill, and I—my eyes were burning and I could see other students were running into the restrooms in Taylor Hall, getting paper towels and putting it over their eyes and that’s what I did. By the time I came out is when I saw the Guard coming towards the Blanket Hill area.
Now, I’m gonna digress just a little bit from this point. One of the things I do want to emphasize is that the Commons was the center of campus at that time, and if you had to go and—Bowman Hall was probably the most distant classroom at that time. The new library and all that was under construction. So if you had to go from one area of campus to the other to get to your classes, most likely you had to crisscross through the Commons. The reason why I mention this is some of the reports only talk about 2,000 or 3,000 students being involved with this May 4th incident and I disagree with that because, yes there might have been maybe 2,000 or 3,000 right there in the area, but there were many, many, hundreds of others watching all this because you were blocked, you couldn’t get anywhere. And, out of curiosity, people wanted to see what was going on. So I can’t really give you a number about how many were there but it was much more than 2,000 or 3,000 students.
[Interviewer]: So, you’re saying there were those who were directly on the Commons and then like a peripheral group?
[Sandor Lubisch]: There was a large peripheral group all around because you couldn’t—if you were on your way to your next class, most likely, you had to go through that area.
[Sandor Lubisch]: And the Guard was blocking, so there might have been more behind the Guard, there was a large group on top of Blanket Hill and where the mound was, where Johnson Hall and Stopher, where the dorms were. There were a lot of people in the peripheral.
[Interviewer]: So were you still on the Commons when the actual shoot—?
[Sandor Lubisch]: Okay, okay, so when I left Taylor Hall with the paper towel—wet paper towel on my eyes, I exited the exit that was by Blanket Hill, that walkway and I saw the Guard coming up and so I proceeded towards the parking lot area. When I noticed that the Guard were on the practice field, and they were pointing rifles at the parking lot, I ran forward a little bit to descend out of their way. At that time there was a drive—or it’s still there, Midway Drive, actually went down a hill so I was out of their view. Then, when the Guard retreated, I went back up Midway Drive towards Prentice Hall, and I got—I don’t know how I got there but—there’s a small door in Prentice Hall that leads south onto the parking lot. It’s not their main door, it’s a side door and there is this brick wall and mound that separates that pathway, you know which area I’m talking about?
[Interviewer]: I’m trying to envision where it is.
[Sandor Lubisch]: It’s towards the east end of Prentice Hall. But there is this doorway that goes south into the parking lot.
[Sandor Lubisch]: Okay, and on the west side of that pathway, there is a brick wall that the brick matches the brick of the building and then on the other side there is like a dirt mound.
[Sandor Lubisch]: Okay, and somehow I got behind that wall. And If I hadn’t been behind that wall, I probably would’ve been in the line of fire. So that’s where I was when the firing actually took place. Once we realized—once the students in the parking lot realized that not everybody got up and people got shot, as you’ve seen in some of the photos, circles were formed around those who got shot.
[Sandor Lubisch]: I stayed in the parking lot because I wanted to see—make sure either they were okay, if ambulances were coming. So I did not go back down Blanket Hill, I was not part of that sit-in down there that I’ve since read about, and Professor Franks [ed. note: Frank] with his bullhorn, I did not witness any of that, I stayed in the parking lot area. It seemed like it took forever for the ambulances to come, it was at least a half hour for the ambulances to come. I stayed in the parking lot area until the bodies and those injured had been taken away by the ambulances. I’m not exactly sure what time that was, that might’ve been maybe 1:30 at that time. Maybe longer. I just don’t remember.
Now once the ambulances were gone, another account that I recall happening that I don’t ever see mentioned anywhere, there were announcements, and it must’ve been made by bullhorns and by whom, I don’t know. But there was an announcement made in the parking lot area, I don’t know if this was also made elsewhere, but in the parking lot area, that campus had been closed and we were to return to the dorms immediately and take our essentials and leave campus as soon as possible. When I heard that announcement, being part of the dorm staff, I knew I had to get back to Tri-Towers because I assumed I would be needed to help vacate the building, and that’s what I did.
I went back to Tri-Towers, went directly to the desk, we were told to tell everybody to just get their essentials, that they would be able to come back at a later time to get everything else, and to help clear the building. That’s what I did. I remember the director of Tri-Towers, of the residence hall, requesting those of us on the staff who had cars to stay there as long as possible to help clear the building, and that’s what I did. So I was one of the last few to leave. I think it was about 6 p.m., I had another student—because I did have a car during my junior year, there was another student who wanted a ride up to Streetsboro and when we left, I was kind of surprised that a National Guard jeep escorted us off campus and through the town. Because going to Pittsburgh, I just thought I’d be able to get on 43 South and take the freeway, but no, there was only one way out and I had to drive north on 43 up to Streetsboro and then get on the Ohio Turnpike there to get back to Pittsburgh.
And, of course, all the phone lines are cut, you couldn’t make any phone calls, so I didn’t call my parents until I was on the Turnpike at one of the rest areas where I called them collect to let them know I was on my way home. So I was one of the last to leave Tri-Towers.
[Interviewer]: So by the time you were leaving, or I actually kinda want to back up a little bit. When you were helping the students in your residence hall exit, can you recall if a significant number of students were able to make it back to the dorms?
[Sandor Lubisch]: Well, we cleared the dorm.
[Sandor Lubisch]: So there was, you know, if people needed rides, the desk kind of helped, you know. But it seemed to go very smoothly, how they all left, how they got off campus, that I don’t know the specifics, we were just going through the rooms, telling everybody just to leave—that they’d be able to come back at a later time. I think it was about maybe 3 or 4 weeks later we all got a notice that we could come back, there was a weekend that we were able to get back into the rooms and get everything out. That was maybe about 3 weeks to a month later.
[Interviewer]: So you said by the time you left at 6 p.m. it was pretty—?
[Sandor Lubisch]: Empty.
[Interviewer]: Empty, okay.
[Sandor Lubisch]: Yes, yes.
[Interviewer]: Do you recall your parents’ reactions or did you have any chance to speak with them immediately?
[Sandor Lubisch]: No. The first time I had a chance to speak with them must have been about 6:30, 7 o’clock in the evening from the Ohio Turnpike. They had heard the news and of course they heard that two Kent State students from the Pittsburgh area were killed, and no names were mentioned, and of course my parents were scared that I was one of them. They were relieved that I was not shot, I wasn’t injured, and they urged me just to take my time coming home.
[Interviewer]: So, in the weeks after, can you recall what took place or what you remember happening?
[Sandor Lubisch]: Yes, okay. Now in the weeks after, the professors did what they could to continue classes. I remember receiving a note or a letter that some professors were gonna use the Kent State Radio Station for those who lived in the area to broadcast their lectures. There were some that sent study guides for us to read. To read our assignments. Each professor had a procedure on how they could proceed with final exams. Most of my professors from what I remember, I had to find an adult who would serve as the exam proctor, and they would send my final exam to that proctor, I would take the exam under their auspices. They would collect my exam and then mail it back to the professor. There was an attempt by the professors to allow us to continue our classes. So, at least in my case, I finished all my classes.
[Interviewer]: Is there anything else that sticks out to you in the weeks after?
[Sandor Lubisch]: The other thing that, since I was in Pittsburgh—I think it was like the next week or week after I returned home, there was an antiwar protest at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh that I did attend. It was more of a speech type protest where the students were out on the lawn and there were various speakers and people had signs and it was that kind of thing. It wasn’t a march, or there wasn’t any, you know, closing of—trying to close Carnegie Mellon. It was more of a speech kind of demonstration. So I did attend that.
[Interviewer]: Was it specifically talking about what happened at Kent?
[Sandor Lubisch]: Yeah, about Kent State, Jackson State, and the move into Cambodia. That was the essence of that particular protest at Carnegie Mellon.
[Interviewer]: So, now that’s it’s been over 46 years, how do you feel or do you think your views about May 4 and what took place have changed or have they remained the same?
[Sandor Lubisch]: My view is this, May 4th is a tragedy and what causes tragedy is a series of mistakes. And there were—an overreaction. Again, I was not present Friday night downtown, but closing bars early downtown, at that time there was at least 30 bars downtown, putting all those—all the students and late teenagers and visitors to Kent on the streets downtown early after they’d been drinking was a serious mistake. That just led to other complications. The destruction of the ROTC buildings, whoever did that, I think that was uncalled for, but the way the state handled that, calling in the National Guard I thought was a mistake. That led to more complications. Giving inexperienced National Guardsmen, young National Guardsmen, live ammunition with the type of rifles they had was a serious mistake. You add all of that together and what was the result, deaths and a tragedy. I’m still very angered and appalled that this happened while I was there.
Again, I always wondered what role the campus administration had during all this. Subsequently I’ve read that the National Guard took control away from the university, I think if that’s really true than that was another mistake. There should’ve been equal participation between the university and the National Guard or the state officials who had taken control. I think that was also a miscalculation.
Of course, always wondering where Sandy actually fell and now that I know where she was shot, she really was not that far from where I was. That haunts me. The whole thing haunts me very much.
There’s one other part I do want to add to this. That is about what Kent was like the following year.
[Sandor Lubisch]: Can I add that?
[Interviewer]: Yes, please do.
[Sandor Lubisch]: Okay. I was not living on campus, I was in the Glenn Morris apartments, you know, seniors were allowed to live off campus during their senior year. But I was also vice president of the Interfraternity Council and I was also on campus the summer of '70 before campus opened. I was a member of Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity and our advisor was Larry Haskins and he was the director of residence halls for the campus so I knew Larry. I had no place to live during the summer so I spoke with him and also the director of Tri-Towers and they allowed me to live—which one was it, I’m looking at where Tri-Towers is. They allowed me to live in Wright Hall on the ground floor for free, just so they had somebody present in that building which would be vacant during the summer.
So, I was on campus during the summer and I think it was because of my fraternity involvement, I was asked to participate with the Major Events Committee. At that time, the Major Events Committee was the student group who coordinated the major campus events, particularly homecoming. And so I was asked what my thoughts were, what the—because it seemed that the campus administration wanted some type of normalcy to return to campus next year and homecoming would be part of the healing process. And so they asked me what my thoughts were. And my thought was this, again being somewhat of a student activist. At that time there was the attempt to raise the legal fund for, I think they were referred to as the Kent 25?
[Sandor Lubisch]: The Kent 25, and there was a legal fund being established to raise the money to pay for their defense and so my thought was what do fraternities and sororities do best, we know how to raise money. So my thought was to have a carnival type event where each fraternity and sorority would have some type of booth, a game type booth, and we would sell tickets and the proceeds of those tickets would go towards the legal defense funds.
The faculty advisor of the Major Events Committee thought that was an excellent idea, and we actually did this. The campus rented a tent, it was placed on the Commons but not by the Victory Bell, it was back in another area, that’s where the event was held and it was very well attended, I can’t remember what the dollar amount was but we raised at least a few thousand dollars, maybe more. It was promoted as to go to the student defense fund.
After the event was over, the advisor came and said, “You know, you really presented a dilemma to the university.” I said, “Why?” She says, “Well how could the university promote raising money for the student defense fund? But since they did, they were very quietly going to find a way to get the money to the legal defense fund, so I just wanted you to know that the money would go that direction." I don’t think this has even been mentioned before, that this happened.
[Interviewer]: No this is my—
[Sandor Lubisch]: I mean, I still have the brochure of homecoming, you may have that somewhere, the '70 homecoming where in the brochure it does have a photo of the Major Events Committee and with my name being in charge of the carnival.
[Interviewer]: It would be nice if you still sent your copy if you’re willing to part with it.
[Sandor Lubisch]: Okay, what email address shall I scan and send this to.
[Interviewer]: I can share it with you after we conclude this.
[Sandor Lubisch]: Okay. So, the other change on campus which also does not get talked about is there was a significant change with our registration form when we signed up for classes for the next year. I don’t know the exact language and you may be able to find what the exact language is. But the language was changed and there was a clause that was added on our registration form. It was something to the effect that in the event that campus closed for any unforeseen reason, that classes would end and there would be no refund. So, in essence, that in case something like May 4th would happen again and the campus was closed, there would be no continuation of classes in any manner and we would forfeit any tuition or room and board or housing expenses that we had. That was added to our registration form and I was not the only one who noticed that. I don’t know if that clause is still on the registration forms but that was added for the fall classes.
[Interviewer]: That would definitely be something interesting to be researched further.
[Sandor Lubisch]: Yeah.
[Interviewer]: Do you recall any—since that sounds a bit jarring, do you recall any conversation beforehand?
[Sandor Lubisch]: I know a number of us in my fraternity and my friends, we all noticed that and talked about that, so we were all aware that there was this change.
[Interviewer]: So then during the process when you were trying to finish your classes that summer, do you recall conversation coming back that that was a labor on the part of university to do that?
[Sandor Lubisch]: I lived in Pittsburgh, so if there was this kind of conversation, I was not part of it or did not witness it because I was two hours away. There was no conversation or notice that this change in registration, in registration form was being proposed or would be added, it was just done. Whether this was just at Kent State or at all the Ohio state universities, that I don’t know.
[Interviewer]: Right. Well, you definitely added some additional insights and I would just like to ask at this point if there is any other pieces that you would like to add to your narrative that you haven’t?
[Sandor Lubisch]: I was just looking at my notes, I think I’ve covered everything. I just wanted to make sure that my account emphasizes the stress level of the student body at large about midterms which is a normal event, and the curiosity that was created by the National Guard in the dorm area Sunday night with the helicopters and the jeeps.
The other thing as far as the students throwing things out the windows, there was mention that, when we were told to get everybody to close their windows, that students were throwing bodily fluids and excrements in the bags out at the National Guard. Now I wasn’t sure that actually took place, okay, I don’t know if people made this up, because obviously I didn’t witness anybody creating one of these bags, but that was mentioned that this was going on.
[Interviewer]: So you saw bags but you don’t know if that was actually done.
[Sandor Lubisch]: Right. You know, I saw you know, like objects, like paper objects, people just throwing things, whatever they had in their room out the windows at the jeeps.
[Interviewer]: Well, Sandor, I really would just like to take this time to say thank you for adding your account to the May 4 Oral History Project, I think your account will be a valuable addition, and at this time I would like to conclude our interview.
[Sandor Lubisch]: Okay.
[Interviewer]: Thank you very much.
[Sandor Lubisch]: You’re welcome.
Student at Kent State University from 1967-1971
|Date of Interview||
Sandor Lubisch was an undergraduate student at Kent State University from 1967-1971. He was part of the residence halls' student staff at Tri-Towers, a member of the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity, and was vice president of the Interfraternity Council during his senior year. He describes events that took place in the area of the Tri-Towers dorms on Sunday evening, May 3, with National Guard troops stationed around the buildings and students' stress levels running high with midterm exams starting the next day. His eyewitness account includes a detailed description of his movements and what he witnessed on the Commons and in the Prentice Hall parking lot on the day of the shootings. He places emphasis on the fact that he witnessed a very large peripheral crowd of many hundreds of students who were present because they needed to cross that area of campus in order to get from one class to the next. He concludes with describing events from the 1970-1971 academic year and his project to organize a carnival event for homecoming weekend to help raise money for the Kent Legal Defense Fund.
|Length of Interview||
|Time Period discussed||
Evacuation of civilians
Frank, Glenn W.
Kent Legal Defense Fund
Kent State Shootings, Kent, Ohio, 1970
Kent State University. Blanket Hill
Kent State University. Leebrick Hall
Kent State University. Tri-Towers
Means, Howard B. 67 Shots
Ohio. Army National Guard
Scheuer, Sandra, d. 1970
Tear gas munitions
Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements
Special Collections and Archives
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Kent State University
|DPLA Rights Statement||
|Format of Original||
audio digital file
May 4 Collection