NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - A municipal court judge imposed $750 fines on each of the 11 Rutgers University students who were charged after a protest in December during university president Robert Barchi's speech at a Board of Governor's meeting.
Judge James Hoebich, the presiding municipal judge for the city, ordered the students on Monday to pay the fines as well as court costs, bringing the total penalty for each defendant to about $900, said Ira Mintz, the Somerset lawyer who represented the students.
"They were hit for almost a $1,000 dollars. It was outrageously large," Mintz said.
On Dec. 4, students joined the faculty to picket outside Winants Hall just before the board meeting, as faculty demonstrated their objections not having settled contract negotiations, and to lower pay of professors at the Newark and Camden campus compared to their counterparts at the New Brunswick campus.
Moments later, when the meeting began inside the hall, students shouted and chanted as Barchi read his report to the board members.
"Oh Bob Barchi. Oh Bob Barchi. How outrageous your wage is," the protestors shouted to drown out the president's comments.
Although dozens of students participated in the demonstration, only a handful were charged.
Each of the 11 students faced three disorderly persons charges, but two counts were dropped when they agreed to plead guilty to a single offense.
Mintz said the students had hoped that Rutgers would recommend the charges be reduced to municipal violations, which carry penalties of less than $100.
In addition to the criminal charges, Mintz said, the students faced university disciplinary charges. Each of them served a period of probation, the attorney said.