Ohio University pro-Israel students arrested after protesting at student senate

Screenshot of the video showing the Ohio University student senate meeting Sep. 10. Credit: Screenshot from the Athens Post.

(JNS.org) Hillel International President and CEO Eric Fingerhut sent a letter to Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis on Friday that criticized the arrest of four pro-Israel students at a student senate meeting Sep. 10.

Maxwell Peltz, 20, Rebecca Sebo, 22, Jonah Yulish, 19, and Gabriel Sirkin, 20, had been protesting against Ohio University Student Senate President Megan Marzec's video, posted earlier this month, in which she poured fake blood on herself as an ALS Ice Bucket Challenge-inspired anti-Israel protest.

At the student senate meeting, Sebo stood to protest against Marzec's video, criticized her leadership, and called for her resignation. After warning that the students are disturbing the meeting, Marzec reportedly called for the their detainment. Sebo and her three fellow activists were then escorted out by Ohio University police officers. 

The four students were arrested and charged with a fourth degree misdemeanor for disturbing a lawful meeting. If convicted, the charge carries a maximum sentence of 30 days in jail and a $250 fine, reported the Athens News. The students pled not guilty in the Athens City Municipal Court Sep. 11.

"I cannot understand how the university administration could have possibly allowed the university police to arrest these students," Fingerhut wrote in his letter.

"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," he wrote.

Posted on September 12, 2014 .