Well, now things are going to get messy. Elected leaders across the country are tiring of the pro-Palestinian protests. It seems Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost is getting ready for not just mass arrests but also many, many prosecutions.

WJW Cleveland reports that the AG has written to the presidents of the state’s public universities and colleges. The AG told them to warn student protesters that they may be liable to prosecution under the anti-disguise law. The law in question dates back to 1953.

Section 3761.12 of the Ohio Revised Code simply states: “No person shall unite with two or more others to commit a misdemeanor while wearing white caps, masks, or other disguise.”

That section needs to be read in concert with section 3761.99 of the Ohio Revised Code which states: “Whoever violates section 3761.12 of the Revised Code is guilty of a felony of the fourth degree.”

What misdemeanor could be utilized? Probably trespass as defined in section 2911.21 of the Ohio Revised Code.

Why reach for tools like this? Well, the legislature in its infinite wisdom decided to restrict the operational authority of the public colleges and universities. For as much as Republican legislators here in Ohio want the protests to stop, they also happen to be the same people that enacted provisions tightly restricting acaademic administrators at the public institutions from shutting down any outdoor protests at all. We’ve had a Republican supermajority in state legislature for over a decade so it isn’t like a Democrat snuck that provision in somewhere to plan two years in advance for these protests. They did themselves in on this one.

Mind you, this is the same state where four protesters were shot dead by Ohio Army National Guard troops on the main campus of Kent State University on May 4, 1970. Could it happen again? While every graduate of Kent State University since that day in 1970 hopes it doesn’t we’re also not blind to the realities around us. AG Yost is preparing to roll the hard six and is playing for all the marbles. He is an ambitious politician look at a run for governor in two years. Anything is possible.

al Jazeere is updating the protests map found at https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2024/4/29/mapping-pro-palestine-campus-protests-around-the-world. It is missing some like the protest at Case Western Reserve University. The latest CNN attempt to chart things can be found at https://www.cnn.com/2024/05/08/us/pro-palestinian-protests-arrests-colleges-dg/index.html.