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Documentary about 1970 riots to air on WOUB

ATHENS, Ohio (May 16, 2005) -- WOUB-TV will air a new documentary, "The Sky Has Fallen" on Monday, May 30 at 8 p.m. that will focus on the riots that occurred in May 1970 at Ohio University.

On May 4,1970, riots at Kent State University erupted after President Nixon announced that he had sent troops into Cambodia. National Guard troops killed four Kent State students that day and riots started at campuses across the country in protest and Ohio University was no exception. Ohio University remained open for 10 days while President Claude Sowle tried to get faculty and students to talk through their problems.

At first, the reaction was mostly peaceful "teach-ins" on College Green and thousands of students staging a "March Against Death" through uptown Athens. Eventually, some demonstrations turned violent. Firebombs exploded in an ROTC supply room at Peden Stadium, and students started throwing bricks through windows and at police. By May 14, 23 students needed treatment at Hudson Health Center and 54 had been arrested. President Sowle was forced to cancel classes, final exams and commencement ceremonies; Mayor Raymond Shepard called in the National Guard.

Mark Leff, assistant professor of Journalism at Ohio University, produced "The Sky Has Fallen" with WOUB acting as the presenting station for the documentary. Leff said Roderick McDavis's appointment as president of Ohio University sparked his interest in doing the documentary. McDavis graduated from OU in 1970, as did baseball team captain Joe Carbone who is now the university's head baseball coach. McDavis and Carbone will walk through commencement in June.

Interviews with Carbone and McDavis are included in the documentary as are interviews with former students including Andy Alexander, Jesse Rotman, Ron Esposito, and former Athens police department captain Charlie Cochran. They discuss their memories of the spring of 1970 in Athens and what led up to the disturbances on campus. "The Sky Has Fallen" will air on WOUB Public TV, Monday, May 30 at 8 p.m.

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Media Contact: WOUB Radio & Television Public Information Coordinator Kelly Martin, (740) 593-4944 or Kelly_martin@woub.pbs.org

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