Charges dropped against Ohio U anti-divestment protesters

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — Charges against four Jewish Ohio University students for disrupting a student senate meeting with a protest against divestment reportedly have been dropped.

The students – Jonah Yulish, Maxwell Peltz, Rebecca Sebo and Gabriel Sirkin – faced up to 30 days in jail and a $250 fine after being arrested on Sept. 10 for staging a protest of senate president Megan Marzec’s “blood bucket challenge” video calling for the university to divest from companies doing business in Israel. Their protest, which called for Marzec’s resignation, ended when the Ohio University Police Department arrested them.

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Each student was offered the chance to plead guilty to a minor misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct and pay a $100 fine, but all refused. The students have been charged with disturbing a lawful meeting, a fourth-degree misdemeanor charge.

A jury trial had been set to begin in Athens County Municipal Court on March 10. The charges were dismissed last week after motions filed by the students’ lawyers since the students did not receive a speedy trial. In the case of a fourth degree misdemeanor, a speedy trial under Ohio law is 60 days, though extensions are possible.

“I think it’s prophetic that Judge (William) Grim dismissed the charges against our clients erev Purim. In light of what we perceived as anti-Semitic charges, Judge Grim determined that justice should prevail and they should be freed,” attorney Larry Zukerman told the Cleveland Jewish News.