CONWAY, Ark. – A University of Central Arkansas student was given jail time and a fine Thursday for his protest for transgender rights in Conway.
UCA student Colburn Clark was among those protesting in November as the Conway school board voted on restricting bathroom access and room assignment to a student’s gender assigned at birth.
Clark was one of three students arrested at the time for chanting “trans lives matter” outside the meeting room and refusing to leave.
According to a statement from the Conway Public School District, the school board asked the crowd to be quiet multiple times.
On Thursday, multiple protesters gathered outside of the courthouse in Conway in support of Clark. Among them was Alex Barnett, who was one of the three arrested alongside Clark.
“I came out because Colburn, one of the people who was protesting way back in November, his trial was today. He was arrested like I was,” Barnett said.
The November protest ended with three arrests. Barnett, Keylen Botley and Clark were each charged with the two misdemeanors, criminal trespassing and failure to disperse.
During the trial, two officers who were present at the time of the protest were called as witnesses. They said they were asked by school officials to ask the group to leave the lobby area of the building for being disruptive and Clark and several others refused to leave.
At one point in the trial Clark’s lawyer, Christopher Murray asked District Judge Chris Carnahan for a direct verdict for the side of Clark saying no meeting was disrupted. Carnahan denied that request.
Carnahan found Clark guilty of misdemeanor criminal trespassing and sentenced him to three days in jail and $650 in fines, with $300 for criminally trespassing and the other $350 for failing to disperse.
Earlier Carnahan had sentenced Barnett to 10 days in jail and $950 in fines.
Barnett, a junior student at UCA, is the only one sentenced to 10 days in jail. However, after one night at the Faulkner County Detention Center, Barnett appealed for an early release. According to court documents, Botley pled guilty and received zero days in jail but had to pay a fine of $450.
Barnett and others were outside Clark’s hearing chanting “trans lives matter” as the trial took place, and Barnett said he felt their protesting led to Clark receiving a lesser term than he did.
“Quite frankly, I was expecting Colburn to get more days,” he said. “If I were to credit anything as to why he got less time than I did, I think part of it was we showed up.”
Barnett said he and Clark are a part of a democratic group on campus and he doesn’t feel they received a fair trial by the judge.
“His motto was ‘Finally a conservative judge’ and that’s the guy both me and him have to go in front of,” Barnett said.
FOX 16 News has made multiple requests to interview Judge Carnahan and are waiting on a response.
Clark’s attorney did not want to appear on camera but said an appeal, which must be filed within 30 days, was likely.