LETTER TO THE EDITOR: How can we reach Kent State students?

Malania Birney

I wrote an opinion piece for KentWired explaining why I was voting for Betsy Rader to represent Kent State as our state senate candidate in the 2020 general election. My piece was not published because KentWired could not endorse one candidate over the other. Days later, KentWired published their own opinion piece endorsing Joe Biden for president.

Granted, KentWired offered me the opportunity to rewrite my piece to be published if it was revised to equally represent both candidates. I did not personally have the time to do this before the election itself and believe it would not have done my op-ed justice, as I had no intention on sugar coating the dirty politics and tactics used by Jerry Cirino in this race. Now, on Nov. 4, Betsy Rader has lost the state senate seat. The man who now represents Kent State is an extremist who got Cleveland Right to Life expelled from National Right to Life because of his bold views. He believes LGBTQ+ individuals should not have the right to marry the ones they love. He openly denies any exceptions for rape or incest in abortion policies. He stood proudly in the center of the House Bill 6 bribery scandal. He publicly denounced the BLM movement and has refused to wear a mask for the entirety of this pandemic. I can say with the upmost confidence that Jerry Cirino does not represent the interests of the majority of Kent State’s students.

I am extremely proud that KentWired chose to endorse Joe Biden and I recognize that was not an easy decision. In their piece, they cited their main reasoning for doing so as follows: “It’s important to us that when people look back on the 2020 KentWired editorial staff, they know that we did not stay silent when we saw injustice in the world.” I want it to be very clear that I was trying to do the same. Kent State students were a vital demographic in this state senate race. Amidst online learning in a global pandemic, it was a challenge to reach and unify them. KentWired, as a student media outlet, was a resource to do so.

The election of Jerry Cirino will have direct and unsavory consequences on Kent State’s community. Should we have regrets? Could my guest endorsement of Betsy Rader having reached a greater number of previously unaware students made an impact in the outcome of their race? What is the role of media in our elections? If not through the vessel of KentWired, how else can we speak to the masses of Kent State students?

Don’t forget to call your state legislators when they act against your interests. Your voice can still be heard. Keep making good trouble.

Malania Birney is a Kent State student. Contact her at [email protected]


Hi, I’m Lauren Sasala, a senior journalism student from Toledo. I’m also the editor in chief of The Kent Stater and KentWired this semester. My staff and I are committed to bringing you the most important news about Kent State and the Kent community. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate.