'Kill the bill'
Published: Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Updated: Thursday, May 12, 2011 14:05
On Monday evening, Youngstown State University students and faculty, along with concerned Mahoning Valley residents, attended the Rally For Education and Community at YSU's Beeghly Center.The rally, hosted by a group of students, focused on protesting Senate Bill 5, legislation that limits the collective bargaining rights of Ohio union workers.
The rally's speakers included YSU senior Gary Davenport, YSU Ohio Education Association President Julia Gergits and state Sen. Joe Schiavoni.
Davenport, one of the main organizers of the event, expressed the student message and the purpose behind the rally.
"We had about a dozen students come together to organize this in different small ways. Our message overall is that we value the quality of our education, the safety of our communities and the economic viability of our futures," Davenport said.
Schiavoni also shared his concerns about the legislation and encouraged YSU students to get involved.
"You must educate yourself regarding Senate Bill 5, talk to fellow classmates, co-workers, friends and family members, and help them understand, no matter their age or occupation, allowing Senate Bill 5 to become law will negatively affect their life," Schiavoni said.
Senior Molly Toth, who also helped organize the event, was enthusiastic about the turnout but expressed disappointment at the student presence.
"This seems to be a chronic thing on campus, where we do not have a lot of students showing up to events. My outcry to all of the students at YSU is that this affects you directly. It's going to affect the way that you learn, the number of people in your classes, and it's not going to stop there," Toth said.
Sophomore Molly Rogers spoke about the fears for herself and fellow education majors when they are faced with the daunting task of finding a job in a state that could potentially be asking its teachers to give up some of their benefits.
"When I envisioned my future doing something I loved, it wasn't until the release of Senate Bill 5 that I realized the following items would be at stake: salary, health care, job security, class size, starting and quitting times, work assignments, work standards, quality and quantity of work to be done . Senate Bill 5 has made my vision for my future profession cloudy with a chance of storms," Rogers said.
Donovan O' Neal, chairman of the Mahoning Valley Young Republicans, was also invited to the rally and offered his opinion of the speakers.
"I think it could have been a little more constructive . they made this a partisan issue when the real issue should have been about the future of Ohio," O'Neal said.
To close the rally, speakers asked attendees to continue their involvement, and YSU student organizers promised this would not be the last SB 5 protest.