No punishment for sit-in

At a Tuesday court appearance, a group was not disciplined for protesting inside Morrill Hall.

Whose Diversity? member David Melendez holds his daughter as he leaves the Hennepin County Public Safety Facility after a court appearance on Tuesday morning.

James Healy

Whose Diversity? member David Melendez holds his daughter as he leaves the Hennepin County Public Safety Facility after a court appearance on Tuesday morning.

Alida Tieberg

The 13 Whose Diversity? members who staged a sit-in at the University of Minnesota’s Morrill Hall earlier this month learned Tuesday they wouldn’t be punished for trespassing as long as they refrain from similar offenses for a year.

After a daylong protest, the demonstrators were arrested Feb. 9 for refusing to leave President Eric Kaler’s office when the building closed.

The group agreed to suspend their prosecution for a year at their arraignment in Hennepin County District court. After that time, the charges will be dismissed if they comply with the terms of the agreement, said Minneapolis spokesman MattLindstrom.

The agreement is not a guilty plea, Lindstrom said, adding that the group members won’t enter a plea if they abide by the conditions of the agreement.

The group members also don’t have to pay any fines because they spent time in jail, Lindstrom said.

At least 50 supporters were present for the demonstrators’ appearances. At one point, court officials announced that the courtroom had run out of available seating.

Whose Diversity? members declined to comment on the hearing.

The Office for Student Affairs will review the outcome and then make decisions regarding disciplinary action, according to a statement from the University.

 

Ethan Nelson contributed to this report.