Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Mary Jo Mertens, December 7th, 1978

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:04 - Student life / working on campus

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Partial Transcript: Okay, this is an interview with, um, Mary Jo Mertens. Yes? Mertens?

Segment Synopsis: Mary Jo Mertens speaks about her position at the University of Kentucky during the spring of 1970 when a large student protest movement was occurring throughout the United States. She talks about her colleagues and how they operated, and the life of students on campus at the time.

Keywords: Civil rights; Diplomatic protests; Government; Politics

Subjects: Anti-war demonstrations; College environment; College students--Political activity.; Communication.; Demonstrations.; Kent State Shootings, Kent, Ohio, 1970.; Perspective.; Student protesters; Universities and colleges--Employees; University of Kentucky; Vietnam War, 1961-1975.

GPS: University of Kentucky Student Center
Map Coordinates: 38.04015712890555, -84.5036655664444
00:09:03 - Student protests

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Partial Transcript: Um, so were there, were there those, uh, that were the--were concerned at the very fact that people were gathering?

Segment Synopsis: Mertens talks about how she felt about the students protesting. Mertens also talks about the general attitude faculty had towards student demonstrations.

Keywords: Meetings; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Anti-war demonstrations.; College students--Political activity.; College teachers.; Communication.; Diplomatic protests.; Kent State Shootings, Kent, Ohio, 1970.; Student demonstrations.; Student protesters; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; Vietnam War, 1961-1975.

00:16:22 - Riot control / faculty response

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Partial Transcript: Uh, a minute ago you said there were, there were like, differences between say yourself and Nancy, and, and, and Jack Hall.

Segment Synopsis: Mertens talks about the way that she and the faculty that she worked with handled the riots on campus. She talks about the differences between herself and Jack Hall and their opinions on how to react to the situation.

Keywords: Anti-war demonstrations

Subjects: College environment; College students--Political activity.; College teachers--Social conditions; Conflict.; Kent State Shootings, Kent, Ohio, 1970.; Riot control.; Riots.; Universities and colleges--Employees; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; Universities and colleges--Safety measures.; Universities and colleges--Security measures

00:26:19 - Burning of Buell armory

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Partial Transcript: Early on when you thought perhaps they, they might, uh, try to take over Buell, was there any specific incidences there that, that led you to believe that?

Segment Synopsis: Mertens talks specifically about the night the students marched on Buell Armory and it was burned to the ground. She talks about her perspective of the event and how it affected her opinion of the event.

Keywords: Anxiety; Emotions; Fires; Police; Rhetoric

Subjects: Anti-war demonstrations.; Arson.; Campus violence; College environment; College students--Political activity.; Demonstrations.; Kent State Shootings, Kent, Ohio, 1970.; Student protesters; Student protests.

GPS: Former location of Buell Armory
Map Coordinates: 38.04038104843828, -84.50234860181808
00:32:29 - Aftermath of the burning

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Partial Transcript: Could you hazard, a, an impression of the type of reaction from the protesters, the type of reaction from, uh--

Segment Synopsis: Mertens talks about the burning of Buell Armory and the way she felt about the protesters. She talks about the feelings on campus and within the faculty around that time.

Keywords: Criminal acts; Fires; Insurance; Insurance crimes; Police; Safety; Shock

Subjects: Anti-war demonstrations.; Arson.; College environment; College students--Political activity.; College teachers--Social conditions; Student demonstrations.; Student protesters; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; ampus violence

00:42:17 - Rumors / security on campus

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Partial Transcript: Along the lines, uh, of the, the street students, uh, idea, I know that, that it was rumored at the time that, that, I think, one of Happy Chandler's, uh, sons was out recruiting football players to act as, as riot police sorts.

Segment Synopsis: Mertens addresses some of the prominent rumors around the protests and marches on campus. Mertens also talks about how she felt about the security on campus in the form of police and military presence.

Keywords: Arguments; Campus; Enlistment; Football players; Identification; Military; Police; Recruiting; Threats

Subjects: Anti-war demonstrations.; Campus violence; College environment; College students--Political activity.; Demonstrations.; Student protesters; Student protests.; Universities and colleges--Safety measures.; Universities and colleges--Security measures

00:50:22 - National guard and police presence

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Partial Transcript: How many, uh, guardsmen were on campus? How many, how many, how were they distributed?

Segment Synopsis: Mertens talks about the presence of National Guard and state police on the University of Kentucky campus. She talks about how she felt being watched by government personnel at all times.

Keywords: College campuses; Identification; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Anti-war demonstrations.; College environment; Kent State Shootings, Kent, Ohio, 1970.; Student demonstration.; Universities and colleges--Employees; Universities and colleges--Safety measures.; Universities and colleges--Security measures; Vietnam War, 1961-1975.