Interview with Mary Jo Mertens, December 7, 1978

Project: University of Kentucky: 1970 Student Protests Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

Mary Jo Mertens discusses events surrounding protests of the Kent State tragedy and the burning of the ROTC building at the University of Kentucky in the spring of 1970. At that time, Mertens was a program director at the UK Student Center. She had started working at UK in August of 1969. She describes the mood of the students at that time and discusses her working relationship with Jack Hall. She explains that all activities at the student center had to go through the Dean of Students, which limited what the students could do. She explains that she never felt that there was any danger that anyone would get hurt at UK by the student protests.

Mertens discusses the rally on the student center patio the day after the Kent State tragedy. She recalls that Jack Hall and members of the university security felt that things were getting out of hand during this protest. She describes the march around campus after the students rallied on the student center patio and explains that she urged the student leaders not to leave campus. She recalls noticing that the ROTC building was on fire and describes the aftermath and the student who was accused of setting the blaze. She remembers the fear caused by the arrival of the National Guard troops and the dissipation of the disturbance as students left campus for summer break.

Interview Accession

1979oh124_af102

Interviewee Name

Mary Jo Mertens

Interviewer Name

John Jason Peter

Interview Date

1978-12-07

Interview Rights

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

Interview Usage

Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Mertens, Mary Jo Interview by John Jason Peter. 07 Dec. 1978. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Mertens, M.J. (1978, December 07). Interview by J. J. Peter. University of Kentucky: 1970 Student Protests Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Mertens, Mary Jo, interview by John Jason Peter. December 07, 1978, University of Kentucky: 1970 Student Protests Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt7crj48qd2k