August 18, 2019 | 83° F

12 Rutgers students involved in protest receive police charges

Photo by Declan Intindola |

Richard H. Shindell, a member of the Rutgers Board of Governors, was one of many who exited Trayes Hall at the Douglass Student Center after student protesters forced an early adjournment of the Dec. 12, 2017 meeting.  

Twelve students involved in a protest that ensued at last semester’s Board of Governors' meeting have received police charges. 

In a campaign to raise the University’s minimum wage for student workers to $15, members from Rutgers United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) took to the meeting on Dec. 12, 2017 in large numbers, according to The Daily Targum. 

Upon entering Trayes Hall at the Douglass Student Center, members of the organization bypassed police and took to the center of the room where they refused to move until board members agreed to their demands. 

Students facing summons appeared at the New Brunswick Municipal Court on Jan. 22. They answered to the charges and scheduled a second hearing for April, said Mary D’Anella-Mercanti, a spokesperson for the activists, in an article from TAPinto. 

The first charge, a disorderly persons offense, states that students acted in a way that disrupted a “lawful meeting, procession or gathering,” according to the article. The second charge, a petty disorderly offense, states that students “purposely caused” or “recklessly created” alarm.

Additionally, these students await disciplinary action from the University for violating the student code of conduct. They plan on pleading no contest, according to the article.

The next protest organized by USAS is slated for Feb. 23 at 1 p.m. The organization plans to meet outside of Brower Commons Dining Hall on the College Avenue campus, according to a press release from the organization.

"Rutgers USAS has tried negotiating and meeting with members of University administration to no avail. Recently, when a member of USAS and a student worker confronted President (Robert L.) Barchi about the difficulties he experienced personally with food insecurity, Barchi contemptuously derided the student, saying his pleading for a living wage amounted to a 'schtick,'" according to the press release.

USAS acknowledged the administrations “contempt for student activists.” They referenced the disorderly persons charges filed against 12 students and administrative actions taken against students. 

“USAS and our coalition partners realize that it is necessary to respond to these blatant attacks, and, more importantly, continue the struggle for what is just and right, a $15 minimum wage for all Rutgers workers. Action coordinators expect more than 500 people to be in attendance, many from our partnered community organizations.”    

The University was unable to comment by the time of publication. 

Christian Zapata

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