Four pro-Israel students were arrested and charged with disturbing a meeting of the Ohio University student senate Wednesday, the campus newspaper reported, following an outcry after the senate president dumped red paint over herself to stand in solidarity with Palestinians.
The president of Bobcats for Israel was detained by university police as she read an excerpt from a conservative blog post, according to video of the incident (click to watch).
Rabbi Danielle LeShaw told the Ohio University student-run newspaper The Post that the four students were charged with a fourth-degree misdemeanor of "disturbing a lawful meeting." Under Ohio law, the charge can carry a maximum sentence of up to 30 days in jail and a $250 fine, the newspaper reported.
The students, identified as Maxwell Peltz, 20; Rebecca Sebo, 22; Gabriel Sirkin, 20; Jonah Yulish, 19, were released after they were arrested and ordered to appear in court Thursday morning.
Student senate President Megan Marzec last week posted video of what she called a "blood bucket challenge" — a take on the viral ice bucket challenge — to blast Israel for its actions in Gaza and demand that the university divest from Israel. She spoke at Wednesday's meeting as well, though only the pro-Israel students were detained.
"I will never apologize for standing with the people of Palestine," Marzec said.
According to the Post, the pro-Israel students began speaking during an open-comment period at the start of the senate meeting. The meeting reportedly "kicked off with yelling and confrontation between two groups supporting and opposing Marzec."
The Post reported that it was Marzac who asked police officers to remove the four students from the meeting, saying their speeches against her bucket challenge had “disrupted” order.
William Jacobson, a Cornell University law professor who runs the conservative blog Legal Insurrection, noticed that one of the students arrested was reading from a summary of pro-Israel quotes he had compiled on his website:
It is clear having listened to the audio that the pro-Israel student was reading statements of university presidents from this Legal Insurrection post, University statements rejecting academic boycott of Israel, specifically the entries regarding statements issued by Brandeis University, the University of Chicago, Hamilton College and U. Connecticut, against the academic boycott of Israel (the video is edited so you don’t hear the full statements, but she follows the random sequence in our post).
One of the blog's readers, apparently an Ohio University alumnus, wrote that it appeared the student who was reading from the blog was "being shouted down by Marzec, and that audience members were attempting to physically assault her."
“My alma is being run by the looney bin,” the alumnus wrote.
(H/T: Legal Insurrection)