As student protest leaders began deliberating how they might conduct the WSU-O student strike, scheduled to begin on May 7, cooler heads finally began to prevail. At a memorial service held that afternoon in honor of the four students killed at Kent State, students were pleasantly surprised by small conciliatory gesture proffered by the campus authority who had long served as campus protestors' primary antagonist—WSU-O president Roger Guiles. Although Guiles had told students earlier that federal law and a mandate issued by the Wisconsin State University system forbade the lowering of campus flags in honor of the slain students, he temporarily reversed course. According to press reports, elated students rushed to Guiles and shook his hand.


Hooded figures and crosses represented the four slain Kent State students at the May 7, 1970 protest.
Advance-Titan, May 14, 1970

A similarly conciliatory spirit informed protest leaders' planning for the evening march to the downtown Selective Service office. "What can we accomplish by violence?” asked student Harley Christensen. “Nothing….What can we accomplish by peace and love? Everything." Senior Tom Brooks likewise offered: "Throwing rocks is easy as hell but it's hard to get people to think about the war."


That evening, a crowd of 4,000—composed of WSU-O students, local high school students and Oshkosh citizens—marched silently down Oshkosh's Main Street. At the head of the eight-block processional were four students carrying crosses bearing the names of the Kent State students. Four other students were robed in white sheets. Straining to dispel impressions of students' reckless actions over the past several days, students scrambled to clean up a coke bottle accidentally dropped along the march route. Those within the campus community and the city of Oshkosh who had despaired a short time earlier at the outbreak of vandalism and the escalation of tensions could take heart at the peaceful march.


An estimated 4,000 students led a peaceful march in honor of the slain Kent State students. Advance-Titan, May 14, 1970.


Oshkosh Advance-Titan columnist Harvey Roesler spoke for many WSU-O students at the end of an emotionally trying week.
Harley Christensen (Class of 1973) discusses his role in the Algoma Street and antiwar demonstrations with student Jean Westerhaus, student Advance-Titan reporter Adam Jungwirth and Professor Stephen Kercher, April 17, 2010.