UCSB Professor Accused of Assaulting Anti-Abortion Activist

#1

An anti-abortion ministry known for its aggressive and controversial outreach work is pursuing criminal charges against a UC Santa Barbara professor, who allegedly stole one of its banners, assaulted one of its members, then helped destroy the banner during a confrontation on campus last Tuesday. The UCSB police department is investigating the incident.

According to 21-year-old Joan Short — a student at Thomas Aquinas College and a member of the Christian pro-life group Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust — she, her 16-year-old sister Thrin, and 11 other Survivors had set up three large signs in an area of campus heavy with foot traffic called the Arbor. The banners, along with literature the activists handed out, displayed graphic imagery of late-term abortions that Joan said was intended to “begin conversations” with passing students.

Joan said that at around 11 a.m., Dr. Mireille Miller-Young — an associate professor with UCSB’s Feminist Studies Department — approached the demonstration site and exchanged heated words with the group, taking issue with their pro-life proselytizing and use of disturbing photographs. Joan claimed Miller-Young, accompanied by a few of her students, led the gathering crowd in a chant of “Tear down the sign! Tear down the sign!” before grabbing one of the banners and walking with it across campus.

independent.com/news/2014/mar/11/ucsb-professor-accused-assaulting-pro-life-activis

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#2

thecollegefix.com/post/16673/

survivors.la/confrontation-with-ucsb-professor

dailynexus.com/2014-03-06/selfishly-abusing-our-of-freedom-of-speech/

According to which, “these groups are threatening the well-being of students, yet nothing is being done. We should not feel unsafe on our own campus. These acts of shaming and violence are beyond unacceptable, and in no case have these groups warned the student body before showing such images on campus.”

Yes, that’s right, the images are threatening the well-being of the students. Unacceptable!

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#3

Seems like the only (alleged) violence and threat to well-being was on the part of this professor.

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#4

I bet if those had been photos of war atrocities she’d be patting them on the back.

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#5

Quoting from the news article:

*Joan claimed Miller-Young, accompanied by a few of her students, led the gathering crowd in a chant of “Tear down the sign! Tear down the sign!” before grabbing one of the banners and walking with it across campus.

Joan said she called 9-1-1 and Thrin started filming, and that the pair followed Miller-Young and two of her students — who Joan referred to as “the fugitives” — into nearby South Hall. As Miller-Young and the students boarded an elevator, Joan said that Thrin repeatedly blocked the door with her hand and foot and that Miller-Young continually pushed her back.
*
independent.com/news/2014/mar/11/ucsb-professor-accused-assaulting-pro-life-activis/

These sort of heated confrontations, and the risk of them boiling over into violence, are why police try to keep protesters and counter-protesters physically separate from one another. The university should have some kind of 15-foot rule which will keep such groups apart.

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#6

There was a dispute about a sign being offensive. One person took the sign and another woman pursued her and engaged in mutual combat. The sign will fall under the fighting words doctrine and obscenity laws. Both parties will claim self defense.

I’ve actually dealt directly with this type of situation many years ago.

The moral of the story is if your at a protest and some one takes your sign or screams at you or call you names you can not pursue them. If you do pursue them then they can use self defense.

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#7

Or another approach is that if there are people expressing their point of view in a so-called “free speech zone”, and you don’t agree with them, don’t resort to taking their personal property because you don’t like the message.

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#8

And the abortionists.

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#9

Bingo.

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#10

Nothing like liberal “tolerance, diversity, compassion and equality”.

Next time, the pro-lifers should invite some Muslims to their rally and see what how the angry counter-protesters react.

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#11

How disturbing that this temper tantrum was had by a professor, who should be giving an example of good behaviour and rational discourse. I would hope the university would reprimand her over this.

If students think pictures threaten them, they have serious issues. However, I’ve been wondering about something. I see this “unsafe” word used a lot now in stories about schools, about homosexuals in schools, things like that, in conjunction with speech or pictures. Is “unsafe” some new code word used in the culture wars? I get the feeling that if a student says they feel “unsafe” then whatever it is he/she disagrees with must disappear. (?)

Or animal abuse photos would probably be okay, too.

There seem to have been a lot of recent cases of vandalism or ripping of pro-life signs and displays. Perhaps universities need to teach students about respecting the views of others even when you don’t agree with them.

So it’s okay if someone takes the signs? What if someone took your handbag? Aren’t you allowed to go after them?

This is not about abortion, but I thought it was a good explanation of what has happened to the idea of* liberalism*, and it has some application to the story in this thread…

He noted that tolerance, government neutrality, and depoliticization were once the guiding ideals of liberalism. The anti-discrimination regime, he argued, weakens these ideals or even replaces them with a moralized politics and politicized morality. It takes the reshaping of opinion, through the marginalization and stigmatization of views it considers bigoted, as one of its main goals. A same-sex couple with a psychology shaped by classical liberalism might have seen the baker who refused to make them a wedding cake as sadly misguided, or a jerk. The new regime encourages them to see him as a civil-rights violator.

This mindset, far from being confined to a left-wing fringe, is now the dominant one in America. Ari Fleischer, a White House press secretary in George W. Bush’s administration and still an influential figure among Republicans, reflected its influence when he said of the Arizona bill, “This bill instinctively struck people as a violation of individual liberty.” The idea that an individual’s liberty is violated when a florist refuses to make arrangements for his wedding can be conceived only in a culture in which the old, negative concept of liberty is no longer instinctive.

From Cross Purposes

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#12

Do you get this garbage from a book or does the crazy just come naturally?

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#13

Video has been released:

youtube.com/watch?v=sLemX9QtUa4

Warning: there is swearing

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#14

Video has been released:

youtube.com/watch?v=sLemX9QtUa4

Warning: their is swearing

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#15

Liberals do not tolerate free speech.

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#16

This is an astute observation. When you hear the word “unsafe” you should interpret that as a claim of the right to be secure and comfortable, and therefore unchallenged, in one’s own worldview.

I believe this usage derives from workplace legal usage. An “unsafe” workplace is one where women are made to feel uncomfortable by, for example, posters of scantily clad women. But it has now been generalized to the above, as you note, in defense of homosexual lifestyle and now well beyond that to any choice no matter how stupid or evil, provided that it has official sanction. (Christians should not waste time invoking “unsafe” in defense of their beliefs; the purpose of college is to challenge them, not others.)

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#17

The students feel unsafe? Too bad they can’t empathize with the unborn babies.

DGB

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#18

Graphic images are offensive to [some] people. I think that was the point of the editorial. How is showing graphic images on posters honoring the fetus that was aborted? Is this how we honor the dead–display the corpse (remains) on a poster? (I have always wondered who takes these graphic pics anyway, but that’s a different discussion.) Do we want people to be pro-life/anti-abortion because graphic pictures of aborted fetuses sickens people or because they have come to believe in the sanctity of life at conception?

College campuses are often the favorite place for off campus groups to solicit or to protest. I have worked at a college campus where my job entailed working in several buildings. It was annoying to travel from one place to another and be confronted by people who are protesting or soliciting. (FWIW, I have not seen a pro life group protest at my work place, but I have been confronted with someone trying to sell me candy to “Save a life”–he was doing some kind of court ordered community service. This went on for 2-3 years in the spring and summer.)

I am not saying that pro-life groups do not have a right to protest abortion. I question how effective this kind of protest is. This group was protesting with graphic images displayed. They were being provocative. The professor in question reacted poorly. Was there more to this than the reports of the incident have reported? (I am wondering if there were past encounters between the professor and this group.) We don’t know from the article. Was this professor acting in an unprofessional manner? Yes. Were the two sisters who followed her into the building not using good judgement? Probably. Did the professor commit assault when she allegedly scratched the 16 year old? I am guessing a court of law will decide that.

Regardless of how noble the cause is, tactics DO matter. No one is a winner here, IMHO. There has been no breaching of the divide; how do you win people over? I don’t think the in-your-face approach is effective.:frowning:

I have noted that some in this thread have made disparaging remarks about liberals. How do you get people to listen to you if you cannot even agree on courteous discourse? I am so tired of the name calling–regardless of where it’s coming from. Adults used to be able to disagree without being disagreeable. It seems to me that the days of civil discourse are relegated to the dust bins of ‘quaint behavior’.

Effecting real change in society will not happen until we meet each other as human beings. How better to honor the aborted fetuses than to treat everyone with common courtesy–especially those who do not see the sanctity of life reflected in the miracle of conception. What are we saying to them about the sanctity of their lives when we retort with barbs and insults–even in the cocoon of a Catholic Answers forum?

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#19

To me, the sad part is that the campus, like so many nowadays, limits free speech to specified “free speech zones.” The whole campus ought to be a free speech zone.

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#20

I agree that graphic images of abortion are offensive to most people. The question is whether those so offended have any cause to feel “unsafe” and what precisely is meant by that term.

I don’t claim to be any sort of expert but I don’t think the graphic images are designed to honor the victims of abortion. They are designed to challenge and arouse those complacent about it. It’s much easier to treat abortion as a sacred right of society when the ugly details are hidden. It is much harder to pretend that abortion is not murder if you don’t see the victims. These protestors are, in effect, rubbing everyone’s face in the bloody victims.

Those who oppose abortion might find this crude and tasteless but don’t assume that it is ineffective. It is effective precisely because it offends. It offends people who hold dearly to the “right to choose” wthout having to think about the consequences of that choice.

I am not saying that pro-life groups do not have a right to protest abortion. I question how effective this kind of protest is. This group was protesting with graphic images displayed. They were being provocative. The professor in question reacted poorly. Was there more to this than the reports of the incident have reported? (I am wondering if there were past encounters between the professor and this group.) We don’t know from the article. Was this professor acting in an unprofessional manner? Yes. Were the two sisters who followed her into the building not using good judgement? Probably. Did the professor commit assault when she allegedly scratched the 16 year old? I am guessing a court of law will decide that.

There may be more to the story (there are always more details) but it certainly makes sense to me as revealed. This professor recognized the danger that the tactic posed to her self esteem and to her influence and reacted to the challenge.

Regardless of how noble the cause is, tactics DO matter. No one is a winner here, IMHO. There has been no breaching of the divide; how do you win people over? I don’t think the in-your-face approach is effective.:frowning:

If the tactic were as poor as you say then the reaciton of the professor would have been to point and sneer, not to attack. These situaitons are far more complicated than you are allowing. There are many sorts of people involved with different points of view. I think this tactic is most effective with those who have avoided thinking about what abortion entails. The people complaining the loudest are not the ones most likely to be influenced; they are the dead-enders. Rather, it is those who are following them but are still open to persuasion. And sometimes you have to start by getting people’s attention and graphic images will certainly accomplish that.

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