Megan Marzec

Ohio University Student Senate President Megan Marzec was charged with persistent disorderly conduct Jan. 22 in Athens after participating in a protest against a proposed tuition hike at the university.

Marzec, along with student senate senators D.J. Amireh and Kyle Tussing, participated in a march against a proposed 5.1 percent tuition increase for incoming freshmen at OU. Demonstrators began marching at Baker University Center and finished at the Civil War Monument on College Green.

According to The Post, the student-run newspaper at OU, police officers approached Marzec, Amireh and Tussing after the protest and asked for their identification. The three were told they would be charged with persistent disorderly conduct, a fourth-degree misdemeanor. No arrests were made and the students were not handed paper citations, The Post reported.

Athens Police Chief Tom Pyle refused to comment on the charges when reached by phone.

Marzec gained national attention in September 2014 after posting a video of herself completing the ice bucket challenge for the ALS Association on the video-sharing website Vimeo. Instead of pouring a bucket of ice water over herself, Marzec poured a bucket of red-tinted water over her head while wearing a pink “Ohio U Divest from Israel” T-shirt. After identifying herself as Student Senate president in the video, Marzec called on OU to divest from Israel.

Marzec is scheduled to appear in Athens County Municipal Court at 8 a.m. Feb. 16 for a pretrial hearing. The next day, Max Peltz of Orange, Rebecca Sebo of Pepper Pike, Jonah Yulish of Beachwood, and Gabriel Sirkin of White Plains, N.Y., are scheduled to appear in the same courtroom for a trial on charges of disrupting a lawful meeting.

Those four students were arrested Sept. 10 after they attended a student senate meeting and called for Marzec’s resignation. Each of the students was arrested by the Ohio University Police Department and charged with disrupting a lawful meeting after each one refused to stop speaking.

Sebo said she saw a group of protesters Jan. 23 on campus and was surprised by their words.

“Today as I was walking across campus I saw a group of protesters chanting, ‘Three students were arrested for protecting our student rights,’” she said. “I have to admit, I thought it was very interesting that when I was trying to support academic freedom, maybe the most important student right, I was arrested. The same students who were defending those charged yesterday were nowhere in sight when we were arrested last semester. It makes you wonder if they really care about student rights at all.”

Marzec was arrested in April 2013 and charged with disrupting a lawful meeting, along with three other students, after she protested an OU Board of Trustees meeting. During the meeting the board unanimously approved a resolution that increased undergraduate tuition by 1.6 percent. Marzec ultimately pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct and paid a small fine.

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