Campus police acted on orders of controversial anti-Israel student Senate President who was subject of protest
[Featured Image credit: Kaitlin Owens video]
We covered the incident the other night where the anti-Israel Student Senate President Megan Marzec at Ohio University had campus police arrest four pro-Israel students who were protesting the “blood bucket challenge” performed by the Marzec.
Marzec came under heavy criticism, including from the Student Senate itself, for her hijacking of the charity fundraising effort for research into an incurable disease, in order to attack Israel.
Is there anything the anti-Israel crowd will not make a political battleground?
One of the students, Rebecca Sebo, was arrested while reading a Legal Insurrection blog post that collected university president statements against the academic boycott of Israel.
As of now, misdemeanor charges of disrupting a public meeting remain pending and have not been dropped:
All four students arrested at Wednesday night’s heated Ohio University Student Senate meeting pleaded not guilty at their arraignments Thursday morning in Athens County Municipal Court.
Their pre-trial dates were all set for Sept. 24 at 8 a.m. The students, and Rabbi Danielle Leshaw, declined to comment.
Judge William Grim originally scheduled the pre-trial dates for Jonah Yulish, 19, and Maxwell Peltz, 20, on Sept. 25, which is the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah. Becky Sebo, 20, and Gabriel Sirkin, 20, asked for their pre-trial dates to be set on Sept. 24 and the others changed, as well.
Each of the four students were charged with a fourth-degree misdemeanor count of disturbing a lawful meeting. That carries a maximum sentence of 30 days in jail and a $250 fine.
To turn this into a criminal matter is pretty outrageous. Even if you believe the students were disruptive, they were not violent. There have been numerous disruptions by anti-Israel students at events, but I’ve yet to hear of an arrest unless there was an act of violence (as happened at Temple Univ. recently.) In those cases, the protesters are merely led out of the room.
Hillel, the international organization that supports Jewish and pro-Israel students on campuses, has fired off a letter to the President of Ohio University pointing out the absurdity of vesting the ability to order an arrest in the power of a student who herself was the subject of protest. The letter reads in part:
… I cannot understand how the university administration could have possibly allowed the university police to arrest these students. These students were not a threat to public order or to the public safety. How could the university administration have failed to intervene when these students were taken to the police station by university police and actually booked and charged with criminal conduct? Any university policy that placed the power to order those arrests in the hands of a single student, who was herself directly involved in the controversy, is wrong and must be changed. These students are owed an apology from the university.
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