Student Protesters Get Amended Charges

Posted on:

< < Back to

The four students charged in connection with a protest that took place at an Ohio University Student Senate meeting have had their charges amended, but kept their not guilty pleas intact.

Rebecca Sebo, 22; Maxwell Peltz, 20; Gabriel Sirkin, 20; and Jonah Yulish, 19, all OU students, had their pleas amended in Athens County Municipal Court to reflect a change in their charges, from fourth-degree misdemeanor disturbing a lawful meeting to a minor misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge.

The four were originally charged with disturbing a lawful meeting but are now charged with "insulting, taunting, or challenging another, under circumstances in which that conduct is likely to provoke a violent response," according to the Ohio Revised Code language cited in court documents.

The charge states that "no person shall recklessly cause inconvenience, annoyance or alarm to another," by committing the stated conduct.

The amendment means none of the four will face jail time as a penalty for the charge if they are convicted. A minor misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of a $150 fine. The original charge of a fourth-degree misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a $250 fine.

The charge was amended during a combined pre-trial hearing for the four, which occurred Wednesday. The four were charged after they attended a student senate meeting on Sept. 10 to protest comments and actions by Senate President Megan Marzec. Sebo has asked for Marzec's resignation following a video posted by Marzec showing red liquid — meant to portray blood — being poured over her head as a call to the university to "divest" from connections with Israel.

Sebo is the president of Bobcats for Israel.

Judge William Grim addressed motions by three of the students, on various subpoenas and "communications or eyewitness accounts" to or from the Ohio University Police Department and "other Ohio University officials referencing any anticipated or completed acts at the Sept. 3, 2014 or Sept. 10, 2014 Ohio University Student Senate meetings," according to court documents.

Grim ordered that OU should produce records of communications or eyewitness accounts by Nov. 30.

"Such are relevant to discover the existence of eyewitnesses and any previous statements those eyewitnesses have made during the limited subject time," Grim wrote in his explanation of the court proceedings.

A joint bench trial was scheduled in the cases for Feb. 17, 2015, and the trial is expected to be completed that day, according to court records.