College Democrats offers opportunity to discuss Senate Bill 5

Caitlin Restelli

College Democrats is holding a town hall meeting regarding Senate Bill 5 at 6 p.m. Friday to raise awareness of the controversial bill.

Christine Francisco, College Democrats president, said despite conflicting times with the rival basketball game between Kent State and Akron University, the meeting will still run.

“Honestly, when it comes down to it, our basketball team will be great. I’d love to be there cheering them on, but this is something really important,” Francisco said. “The only reason I would tell (students) to stay is just because of how quickly this bill is going through and just the severity of it.”

The open-floor discussion will be held in Room 133 of Bowman Hall. Francisco said she is trying her best to make the meeting non-partisan.

Since the bill passed through the Ohio Senate this week, it is now being sent to the Ohio State House.

“I think it will be an interesting take,” said Laura Vanzo, College Democrats member. “I think it’s going to make (the meeting) have a more urgent tone.”

Vanzo, senior political science major, said the group tried its best to “broaden the scope of people who are going to attend” by inviting a mix of organizations to the meeting.

She said the discussion would be affected by who shows up.

“It’s hard to get people that are for the bill to speak out, especially when you put them in a room full of people that are against the bill; however, the invitation stands,” Francisco said.

The College Democrats invited several unionized organizations. Representatives from Kent State’s teacher union, NAACP chapter and Campus Environment and Operations will be attending. The organizations also sent invitations to the Undergraduate Student Government and the Ravenna City School Union.

Members of Organizing For America plan on attending the meeting as well. Francisco, sophomore technology major, said this group is the grassroots student campaign that helped get Obama elected.

Barbra Lewis, regional coordinator of OFA, will be attending. She told Francisco she usually does not see this type of event put on by young democrats and is excited to see young adults recognize the effect of the bill.

“Awareness is the first step in having an impact on your government,” Francisco said.

Contact Caitlin Restelli at [email protected].