The announcement that Samaria Rice, mother of Tamir Rice, would be the keynote speaker for the May 4 commemoration was followed by mixed reaction from current and former Kent State students.
While some were delighted by the announcement, others weren't too pleased with the decision and took to social media to voice their frustrations.
Many of those comments received backlash from those in the African-American community at Kent State. Some were disappointed in the comments made by both current students and Kent State alumni.
"It's a real shame that—because of their their anger—they would resort to such cowardly attacks toward someones mother," said Marvin Logan, a Kent State alum. "Here we have a mourning mother. How dare you disgrace her and the memory of her son by attacking her ability to parent by saying that's what led to the shooting ... of Tamir Rice."
Not all comments on the announcement were negative, though. Some, including Kent State President Beverly Warren, took the opportunity to spread positivity by welcoming Rice to the campus and her full support in the decision to make her the keynote speaker.
“I honor the May 4th Task Force,” Warren said in an interview with TV2 and KentWired. “I think they’ve been thoughtful over time in terms of how they’ve commemorated May 4.
With the overall theme for this year's commemoration as "Black Lives Matter," Rice is just one of many mothers who have lost her son to police brutality.
The movement was started following the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in 2012 as a response to acts of police brutality and anti-black racism in the United States.
The commencement will be at the Kent State May 4 Memorial behind Taylor Hall and will start at noon.
Stephen Means is the sports editor for The Kent Stater. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.