Charges dropped against Ohio U. anti-divestment protesters


(JTA) — Charges were dropped against four Jewish Ohio University students who disrupted a student senate meeting with a protest against divestment from Israel.

The charges were dismissed last week following motions filed by lawyers for the students, who were charged with a fourth-degree misdemeanor, for not receiving a speedy trial. Under Ohio law, a speedy trial is 60 days, though extensions are possible. A jury trial had been set to begin in Athens County Municipal Court on Tuesday in the Sept. 10 incident.

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

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 by university police 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 called for Marzec’s resignation.

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 were charged with disturbing a lawful meeting.

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