Local bands came to rock the Ohio Union Thursday in an effort to encourage students to vote against Issue 2.
We Are Ohio, a group created to repeal SB 5, joined together with the Progressive Student Coalition to create Live Against 2. The concert brought Columbus bands, student speakers and individuals affected by the bill together to spread their messages.
Issue 2, a referendum on the recently passed Senate Bill 5, will be on this November’s general election ballot. If approved, Issue 2 would uphold SB 5.
SB 5 limits the collective bargaining rights of employees in public sector unions and changed from a seniority-based system of cuts to a merit-based system.
The goals of Live Against 2 are to advocate the repeal of Issue 2, to have a good time and to encourage students to go out and vote in November, said Stuart McIntyre, a fourth-year in political science, who helped organize the event.
Speakers took the stage between performances by bands including The Apes, LES Crew and Trains Across The Sea.
“Last spring we had all this great energy with rallies at the Statehouse and lots of different things outside of the electoral system to repeal SB 5,” McIntyre said. “Now, you know, it may not be as glamorous but we just need to get everybody out to the polls and make sure that we stop this legislation.”
McIntyre said he wants students to be more informed on the issue through the event and to become more active in politics on campus.
“Most students don’t want to be lectured,” McIntyre said. “We chose Live Against 2 in the concert form because we thought it’d be lots of fun. We thought it would provide the necessary energy for the cause.”
Alex Palomba, a third-year in political science who helped with the event, said he hopes people can leave with more information than they came with on the implications of whether or not the issue passes.
SB 5 and Issue 2, which have caused controversy and debate through the state, have members of the OSU student body talking on both sides of the issue.
Meagan Cyrus, a fourth-year in political science and president of the OSU College Republicans, said she heard about the event last spring when it started out as Live Against 5.
Most of the students there were directly involved in groups like We Are Ohio or College Democrats and didn’t gain much attention with students who weren’t as involved, Cyrus said.
The College Republicans are involved with the Building a Better Ohio campaign, a statewide campaign started in support of SB 5 and Issue 2, Cyrus said.
“We think it’s something that’s really going to benefit the state,” Cyrus said. “I think what we have on our side are really the facts, and just the idea that this could save a lot of union jobs and a lot of people really don’t understand the facts because there are so many misconceptions about the bill.”
Michael Triozzi, a fourth-year in history and president of College Democrats, spoke at the event to voice his opinions.
“This will be successful if somebody who otherwise wouldn’t be interested or care about politics starts paying attention,” Triozzi said.
Triozzi said now the message is more uplifting to remind people why the effort is being made to vote the bill down.
“Issue 2 is going to affect all of us, it’s not just going to affect public employees,” said CJ Jones, a second-year in public affairs and an intern for We Are Ohio. “It’ll affect our entire communities, our future job opportunities and things like that.
“People see the really confusing campaign ads, they don’t always know a no vote on Issue 2 is a vote to repeal SB 5. It’s just an education issue at this point.”
Brandon Nunn, a second-year in marketing, heard about the event from a friend on the Oval and didn’t know much about the issue.
Nunn said he hopes to learn more about the issue through the event and would like to go and vote in the election.
A major face of the cause, Cincinnati firefighter Doug Stern who was featured in one of the first TV ads to vote down Issue 2, was in attendance at the event to speak.
“I think it’s important that everybody hears what’s going on,” Stern said. “Issue 2 is going to affect everybody across all the demographics.”
“This is something that’s going to impact Ohio for a long time to come. It’s important that we all get on board now and stand up for just worker’s rights and basic civil rights at the same time,” Stern said.