This past September, I posted a blog on these pages about Professor Mireille Miller-Young from the highly prestigious University of California at Santa Barbara (“UCSB”). Professor Miller-Young teaches feminist studies at UCSB, and her research interests include pornography and sex work. Last March, two teen-age sisters and pro-life activists, Thrin and Joan Short, were in the “free speech zone” at UCSB and displayed photographs on posters of the aftermath of abortion to engage students in discussion about abortion and alternatives to abortion. Professor Miller-Young, while walking past the young women, became deeply incensed at the pro-life literature and photos. She forcibly took their posters, and later assaulted the sixteen-year-old sister. A video of the assault is available here: a video of the incident here. You will note in the video that one of the sisters pleads with Professor to return the signs, at one point calling the Professor a thief. A smiling Professor Miller-Young replies, “I may be a thief, but you’re a terrorist!” Afterwards, police were called, and Professor Miller-Young told police that she found the pro-life literature and graphic photos “disturbing” because she teaches reproduction rights. She also reportedly told police that she had a “moral right” to steal and destroy the pro-life signs. Following the police investigation, Professor Miller-Young was charged with multiple offenses. After trial in July, she pled “no contest” to grand theft, vandalism, and battery. At her sentencing the following month, rather than a slap on the wrist, the Professor received a veritable butterfly kiss from Judge Brian Hill instead, which included 108 hours of community service to be performed in teaching conflict-resolution workshops (no, I am not making this up), ten hours of anger management classes, restitution of $493 to the Short sisters, and three years of probation.
Prior to sentencing, a number of letters of support were submitted by the Professor’s defense attorney. Among the letters of support, one letter by UCSB history professor Paul Spikard stated that his colleague was the object of “an energetic smear campaign that seems to have little to do with her person or her actions, and a great deal to do with fomenting racial hatred and rallying right-wing political sentiment.” Emphasis added. (Yes, I do agree that the tens of millions of aborted black babies in our nation constitutes a manifestation of racial hatred, but I am unsure that Professor Spikard had that in mind.) Another letter of support came from Dr. Eileen Boris, also from the UCSB Feminist Studies Department (her research areas of interest include gender, race, class, and social politics), who argued for a light sentence for her colleague. In her letter, Dr. Boris wrote the following:
[S]he was at the stage of a pregnancy when one is not fully one’s self fully [sic], so the image of a severed fetus appeared threatening. If she appears smiling on camera, she is “wearing a mask,” that is, she is hiding her actual state through a strategy of self-presentation that is a cultural legacy of slavery.
Emphasis added. And in follow-up to this case, last month, the pro-life group Life Legal Defense Foundation (“LLDF”) has filed a civil lawsuit against Professor Miller-Young and UCSB on behalf of the Short sisters. In the lawsuit, LLDF seeks compensation for physical battery, property theft, and civil rights violations. Interestingly, educational bureaucrats at UCSB never reprimanded Professor Miller-Young for her actions. But as a public service to my readers, I offer some worthwhile advice to pro-death activists and supporters: if you see pro-life proponents on your campus or in your neighborhoods, unless you wish to engage them in civil discourse, it is most prudent, in the unforgettable words of Pink Floyd, to leave them kids (and their stuff) alone. I hope that Professor Miller-Young and the few remaining taxpayers in California will find that violations of the civil rights of women is expensive. Wouldn’t this be a useful case study for the Feminist Studies Department at UCSB?