Kent State Hosts regional meeting for College Democrats

Anthony Calvaruso

A regional meeting for College Democrats across Ohio was held Saturday in the Governance Chambers at Kent State. 

The event featured talks from prominent Democrats across the state, including Kent State Professor Stephanie Smith, Representative Kathleen Clyde, and statewide Planned Parenthood organizer Anne Morrice. 

Despite harsh weather conditions that caused difficult commutes, active participation filled each event with a passion for social issues and political activism enabling a palpable bond throughout the day. 

Smith opened the event. Her portion of the event focused on the Democratic Party being a voice for the voiceless. 

 “If you’re not going to be a voice for the voiceless, who is ?” Smith asked. 

Smith also stressed that each chapter of College Democrats pay attention to how they brand themselves, urging that they focus on more than just registering voters. Her main call to action focused on the growing heroin epidemic in Ohio. 

“We are whacked out about Zika, but we are pretty silent about heroin,” said Smith. 

 Rep. Clyde addressed issues and legislation she is conducting, especially with regards to college students. One issue of great importance to her is voter rights here in Ohio.

 “I am working on protecting their voting rights and making sure they know that they have the right to register and vote on campus wherever they go to school in Ohio. It’s important to me that they know that and that that access is open to them,” Clyde said.

Morrice, a statewide organizer for Planned Parenthood, also talked to students and presided over a short phone banking session with the event’s participants. Students made calls and advocated for help to keep House Bill 294 from being signed into law, which would defund Planned Parenthood facilities that provide abortion services. 

 “People are starting to take notice of what’s going on in Ohio, even though it seems like it’s a little too late, it really isn’t,” Morrice said.

The meeting was attended by College Democrats from Akron, Toledo, and Cleveland State, as well as Kent State’s local group.