We have been following the controversy surrounding the confrontation of Feminist Studies Associate Professor Mireille Miller-Young with pro-life advocates on campus. Miller-Young led her students in attacking the pro-life display, stealing their display, and then committing battery on one of the young women. Thrin Short, 16, and her sister Joan, 21, filed complaints and Miller-Young was charged with criminal conduct including Theft From Person; Battery; and Vandalism. To the surprise of some of us, faculty and students rallied behind Miller-Young. She remains employed as a faculty member. Miller-Young initially pleaded not guilty but later entered a guilty plea with an apology. She has now been sentenced to sentenced to three years of probation, 108 hours of community service, 10 hours of anger management, $500 in restitution and a small fine. While her actions (and absence of serious university punishment) remain highly disturbing, some of the letters written on her behalf raise new questions over the commitment of University of California faculty to free speech and core academic principles. Miller-Young has been defended by faculty as the victim of a media campaign to portray her as “an Angry Black Woman” and her seemingly happy demeanor on the videotape has been dismissed as a “mask” that she wears as part of a “cultural legacy of slavery.”
Miller-Young’s actions should be anathema to all intellectuals and a violation of the most sacred values of an educational institution. Ironically, she has acted in the same way that critics of early feminists and birth control advocates responded to their protests. Feminist signs and protests were attacked and students censored for their views. However, it became clear later that students in her department have been taught that such action is not only justified but commendable. Pro-life advocates have been denounced as simply terrorists or haters who deserved what they got from Miller-Young and her students.
The Shorts were handing out pro-life pamphlets when they say Miller-Young confronted them and became irate over their demonstration. They videotaped her after she appeared to organize students in yelling “take down the sign.” They say that she grabbed the sign and walked off–ignoring the protests of the teenagers. Campus police were called and Short says that she was pushed by Miller-Young three times — leaving bruises on her wrists — at an elevator confrontation.
On the video below, Miller-Young is seen taking the sign with graphic images and saying “I may be a thief but you are a terrorist.” At the elevator, she can be seen shoving the teenagers and blocking them. The fact (as noted by her students) that the teenagers do not go to the school is no excuse for this type of conduct. If there was some real violation in the protests (which seems dubious), Miller-Young has no authority to quash the speech. This appears a clear content-based act by Miller-Young. It is even more disturbing to see her encouraging her students to silence opposing views by stealing a sign. It is the very antithesis of the academic mission which is based first and foremost on free speech and association — and civility.
Miller-Young lists her areas as “Pornography; Sex Work; Black Film, Popular Culture and Art; Feminist & Queer Theory; African American & African Diaspora Studies; Visual Archives; New Media; Ethnography; Oral History.” Her bio states that she focuses on pornography and African-American women.
Miller-Young’s view that pro-life advocates are “terrorists” were picked up by her students and continue to be heard in her defense. Others have insisted that such images were virtually hate speech when displayed in front of a pregnant woman (Miller-Young was three-months pregnant at the time).
Various faculty members publicly supported Miller-Young and some wrote to the court to ask for leniency. Some publicly denounced the media and the victims in this case. History professor Paul Spikard (left) wrote to object to the court that Miller-Young is the victim of “an energetic smear campaign . . . fomenting racial hatred and rallying right-wing political sentiment.” He insisted that the media was intent on displaying another example of “an Angry Black Woman.” What is striking is that Spikard opposed even a mandatory anger management class in the case. It is hard to see how the media is concocting a smear campaign when a professor is seen stealing a display and trying to stop an act of free speech on campus. Most academics would be horrified by that scene, including professors who are not part of a “right-wing political” agenda. I have an academic agenda that includes faculty member respecting and encouraging free speech on campus. Spikard teaches social and cultural history and has a faculty bio stating that he has been “blessed to spend most of my life immersed in racial populations and cultural traditions that are different from my own.” I have no question that that experience has given him great insight into cultural and racial controversies. However, I fail to see the dominant race issue in a professor acting in this reprehensible and violent manner. We all teach different subjects but we are committed to an intellectual enterprise. We inherited a commitment as educators to protect the unique environment — and our students — on campus. It is not a protection from ideas but a protection of an environment for the free discussion of ideas. It is a safe harbor for ideas even when many would silence such debates outside of our walls. In this case, it was a professor who was physically seeking to silence those with opposing views.
Another to the court came from Eileen Boris, a professor in the Department of Feminist Studies. Boris picked up on the earlier defense that the signs were traumatizing to a woman who was three-months pregnant. Boris told the court “she was at the stage of a pregnancy when one is not fully one’s self fully, so the image of a severed fetus appeared threatening.” Boris then tries to deal with the fact that Miller-Young is smiling and both she and her students appear to be proud of their actions in the video. Professor Boris dismisses the video record as misleading and inaccurate. She explained to the court that “[i]f she appears smiling on camera, she is ‘wearing the mask,’ that is, she is hiding her actual state through a strategy of self-presentation that is a cultural legacy of slavery.”
It is hard to see how a court is expected to ignore the record of the video under a “cultural legacy of slavery” claim. Miller-Young and her students referred to these young women as “terrorists” for voicing their views and creating their display. There was not a hint of hesitation on the video in seeking to stifle free speech.
I previously wrote a critical piece of the response by Michael D. Young, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs which seems to treat the pro-life demonstrators as the problem while encouraging faculty and students not to attack such “outsiders.”
In addition, some 2000 faculty and students have signed a petition in support of Miller-Young while only 150 have signed a counter petition calling for her termination.
Students have clearly learned a lesson from Professor Miller-Young that free speech is only protected when we agree with the message. Consider the truly chilling view of UCSB sophomore Katherine Wehler, a theater and feminist studies major: “They are domestic terrorists, because the definition of a terrorist is someone who terrorizes.” Wehler added:
“I have a lot of feminist friends that went to them [pro-life protesters] with an educated academic response, because they were extremely triggered by these images, and the activists were saying this is for ‘women’s rights,’ . . . As feminist scholars and activists, we were insulted to hear that their cause is for women’s rights, because we felt personally attacked as women. Then, we were repeatedly called murderers. That is not okay. . . In my opinion, Professor Miller-Young would never attack anyone as the media suggests unless feeling an invasion of her own personal space like anyone else would in a fight or flight situation . . . If the university did decide to revoke her employment, there would be a large uproar because she is so celebrated.”
These letters reflect how such views of intolerance can take hold in students. I have become alarmed by the increasing anti-speech activities by students. For decades, social activists, including feminists, faced this type of intimidation in having signs ripped down or being called criminals. Campuses were the bastions of free speech and students were its champions. Increasingly however the West seems to have lost patience with free speech and often the voices for speech regulation and even criminalization are coming from the left.
As someone long associated with the free speech community, I find the Miller-Young scandal — and the response to it by faculty and students — to be incredibly depressing and alarming. We have seen the corrosion of our foundation of free speech in our educational institutions. It has long been the very touchstone of the intellectual life of our schools, but it is now denounced as shield for terrorists and haters. Such views will cut us adrift without any common principle or commitment as academics. The loss of a single sign is of little consequence, but what has clearly been lost at the University of California Santa Barbara (and other schools) is a common article of faith.
102 thoughts on “Professor Miller-Young Sentenced To Probation and Anger Management Classes For Attack On Pro-Life Advocates”
This is why America is going straight down the toilet. This “professor” is nothing more than an anti-American left wing nutbag. In normal world, this is assault, battery, theft and you get fired. You can believe all that left-wing nutbagisms all you want, but stealing my sign, commiting a battery in the process, those are criminal acts.
Yes, I used to post other places. But there were some Obots who pretended to be me who did that, too. Now, I hardly ever post anywhere but here. Most of the time posting on other sites just degenerates into a total food fight, so why bother.
Plus, I am not very partisan about most things. I am socially conservative, and economically more progressive, and that means that I will end up offending most people, one way or another.
@Markkernes – Typical liberal response. When facts are presented, liberals turn to personal attacks. I never said that all blacks are like that, but your response is typical. You did not respond to the real root of the post:
1. “White Flight” is fact based history, pointing a finger directly at forced school bussing by liberal Democrats, originating at the 1971 time index, which in turn resulted in the mass exodus of white people from all the major US cities.
2. The fact that Democrats have been in total control of all Major US cities since the 1950s, thus responsible for the current situation, i.e. Detroit.
3. Why was my post was deleted on the Atlantic website. There were many, many posts by others with major vulgar and derogatory slurs left “un-moderated”. This tells me that “White Flight” is something Democrats want to avoid talking about this fall.
4. The fact that companies have no incentive to move any operations back inside urban centers.
You fit the typical liberal very well. I would also bet that since you have known Miller-Young for several years, I would lay a bet you have been in “academia” all your life, thus insulated from the real world and the causes of real world issues. People like you could never make it in the real world.
Liberal Democrats are all about convincing some group of people that they are being exploited or by manipulating their feelings to hate someone or some group, thus creating a “Boogy Man”. Then they proceed to incite those “hurt people” using standard communist Alinski tactics, ala Miller-Young and Furgeson, and whip them into a frenzy, attacking both persons and property, ala Miller-Young and Furgeson.
Standard Operating Procedure for the Democratic Party.
And one more thing, do you know what people today would call those packs of black kids that beat up the white kids in the 1970s?
Crips & Bloods.
See you in November!
Can you feel that wave building?
They just reported a 40 footer in New Hampshire.
Gosh, Jimbo, how could I have been so misguided? OF COURSE “white flight” has nothing to do with racism, and because it may have been motivated by people’s irrational fear (because, as you said, not all blacks are “like that”) that black kids might be attending the SAME SCHOOLS, nay, the SAME CLASSES as their white children had NOTHING TO DO WITH IT!
Beyond that, you might want to check your history books before claiming that ALL major cities have been controlled by Democrats since the ’50s. Jacksonville, MS? Atlanta, GA? Dallas, TX? to suggest just a few that I’m pretty sure weren’t (or perhaps were controlled by Southern “Democrats,” also known as “Republican Lite.”)
As for your post having been taken down: It shouldn’t have happened—but the idea that it was because you mentioned “white flight” seems a bit paranoid. (You aren’t paranoid, are you? Of course not!)
And guess what? While “White flight” is racist, CORPORATE flight is economic—and, in its way, just as bad, since it means corporations are outsourcing production to other countries to the detriment of ALL Americans, and the American economy. Some of us are working to prevent that from happening.
And while you claim that “Liberal Democrats are all about convincing some group of people that they are being exploited or by manipulating their feelings to hate someone or some group, thus creating a “Boogy Man”,” let me suggest that you subscribe to some of the same daily email lists that I do: American Family Association, Media Research Center, GOPUSA Eagle, Glenn Beck’s FireWire from the Blaze and half a dozen of so more to see who’s trying to tell their “constituents” that they’re being exploited or manipulated.
And yeah, the suggestion that there aren’t (and have never been) any WHITE street gangs, why, that’s not racist in the least!
Mark Kernes, who’s NEVER been an academic in his life—but who does read the news and keeps up with social events from RELIABLE sources. You might want to try that sometime.
Free Speech by liberals only occurs when your opinion agrees with theirs.
Here is a prime example.
Earlier tonight, I linked to a story on theAtlantic.com website titled “Why White People don’t get Ferguson.” The article blamed whitey for everything and tried to justify the actions of the looters.
In the posting section, the liberals were going on and on about how segregated the white and blacks were in the inner cities and that it must end.
I posted my personal experience with “White Flight”, which was the result of the forced busing policies in 1971.
My post did not contain profanity or any personal attacks.
But within 3 Min., my post was deleted and all further posts were prevented from appearing until they were “reviewed by the moderator”.
Why was it deleted? Because it spoke the truth to the real cause of poverty in the inner city. In all the discussions about Ferguson and inner city black poverty, not one single person EVER talks about the “White Flight” from US cities during the 1970s.
Here was my post.
Not one single person here has talked about the root cause of todays inner city poverty. It started in 1971 and it was called “White Flight”. I know this for a fact because that was the year I started Jr. high 7th grade Baltimore.
Black kids from the inner city were bused to the white schools on the edge on the city. There were many, many packs of inner city blacks running over the white kids. Beating them up in the bathrooms, after school, taking their lunch money, or most of the time because they enjoyed it.
I know this for a fact because I was one of the kids who got beat up regularly. It was never one on one. It was always when they were in a pack of 8 or 9 together.
By the middle of 8th grade, my parents moved out of the city into the county. By 1980, huge numbers of whites left the cities all over America, taking the tax base with them. With middle class blacks becoming more and more successful, they too moved out into the county. Before desegregation, all income levels of blacks lived together. After desegregation, they could live anywhere and they too moved out into white suburbia, thus decreasing the tax base even more.
After the big snow storm of 1978 (27″), blacks all over Baltimore and a bunch of other east coast cities, looted stores all over town. The snow was so deep, the cops could not get to the scene. This went on for 3 days. After that, many businesses left the city also. The looting in Ferguson have all but guaranteed that no new companies will be moving there any time soon.
12 or 14 years ago, Baltimore city tore down all the “High Rise” slums and built rows and rows of brand new row houses for the “High Rise” residents. Today, many of the same row houses are now boarded up, windows broken, etc. 4 and 5 generations of welfare have destroyed the black family.
A few years ago, I had a teacher that taught in the inner city of Baltimore tell me a very sad story. She taught 11th grade. A girl came to her and told her she was dropping out of school. She said the girl was very bright and could go places. When she asked the girl why, the girl replied “I am tired the gang hanging out on the corner making fun of me for going to school and telling me that I was never going anywhere but this hood. I am tired of them calling me names and telling me to stop trying to be like whitey. I think they are right.”
I know most of you on here don’t want to hear this, but the Democrats have had total control of this situation in all the worst major cities since I was a kid. Its always “whitey’s fault” or the “rich peoples” fault. The Democratic politicians in power never take any responsibility.
Democrats forced busing started a chain reaction in 1971 that is still reverberating today. These facts are NEVER discussed by the Democrats today. NEVER.
Most of these inner city kids have no role models they can see going to work everyday. And forcing companies to pay an ever higher minimum wage means that a $2 or $3 an hour summer job sweeping up or running for coffee and sandwiches for a 15 or 16 year old is impossible.
You Democrats need to understand the real causes before you can start talking about real solutions.
You see, liberals only tolerate free speech when they agree with it.
@Groty – Great handle! Most people would not get the reference to the Beatles movie “A Hard Days Night”!
@ Squeeky – Your handle works. I am almost positive I have seen your posts o other sites!
Jim Rose: You know what we call people who ASSUME that because something bad was done to THEM by a black or group of blacks, that all blacks and/or groups of blacks behave that way, whether towards whites of other blacks or whatever? Betcha can’t guess! Betcha! Betcha!
markkernes, what is crap is your defense of the professor, on grounds that all pro life people are scum bags.
Let’s turn this equation around. Let’s say you are defending the demonstrators, and you argue that the professor is black, and you believe all black people are no good, so therefore the professor is wrong, no matter what the facts are.
If you cannot see how looney your argument is, then how do you feel about the police in Ferguson, resorting to character assassination as a defense for police killing the teenager?
Finally, it’s a bit disingenuous for you to exercise your free speech while, at the same time, you believe the demonstrators have no right whatsoever to exercise their first amendment right. How would you feel if the owner of this blog simply deleted your comments, in the same way you feel you have a right to delete the demonstrator’s message?
Your comments would go much further in defense of the professor, if you would dispense with the character assassination, telling us more about the professor’s merits, instead. I already feel better about her, after she knowledged her actions were wrong. Humans can be forging, but you have to earn forgiveness.
MarkKernes, Dredd, Annie, a few others: my sympathies. I’ve seen this happen to other blogs. A rational guy runs the joint to comment on the day’s events. In this case the reasonable guy, Professor Turley, brings deep and significant domain knowledge to his comments. He is consistently logical and insistently polite. He is so polite that in cases like this, in which I find myself repelled by the behavior of those who push their anti abortion agenda into people’s faces, that I read his post, recognized that he had a valid point, then I moved on.
One would hope that those he allows to comment would follow this example.
Instead, we’re met by a derisive mob, addicts to insult and cliche, the full spectrum of cheap rhetoric and logical fallacies.
Mr. Natural: Nice of you to attempt to rehabilitate Mr. Turley’s piece, but when he says things like, “Students have clearly learned a lesson from Professor Miller-Young that free speech is only protected when we agree with the message,” he’s being neither “consistently logical” nor “insistently polite”—and that’s hardly the only example. Anyone who’s familiar with the so-called “pro-life movement” knows that these people SEEK confrontation, and guess what? Not everyone wants to look at photos of aborted fetuses, especially when such photos are shown in the service of attempting to prevent women from having control over their own bodies and the growths within them—and they know that very well. That’s why they do it. Mr. Turley also finds a problem with the fact that the UCSB faculty and students overwhelmingly support Ms. Miller-Young, when by his “logic,” they should all have turned against her and called for her dismissal for “stealing” the protestors’ sign and pushing one of them later. I don’t think there’s anyone reading this list who hasn’t, at some point in their lives, made an error in judgment—one which Ms. Miller-Young has owned up to by pleading “no contest” (not “guilty,” as Mr. Turley reports) and suffering the consequences thereof. That doesn’t mean she’s not a nice person or a good person or a competent teacher, as the UCSB faculty well knows; it means she made an error in judgment, and a minor one at that. This whole situation has been politically charged from the beginning, largely because nearly every conservative religious group in America that puts out a newsletter or blog has called their followers’ attention to that situation—I know; I receive them daily as part of my job—and Mr. Turley’s calling for her dismissal only feeds that political agenda. He’s not simply reporting the news here; he’s saying she should have been fired for a minor mistake in judgment in which no one was injured. That’s crap—politically-motivated crap.
It is why I sign all my comments, so that people will not be confused. I try to make things easy.
You should do a spell check on my name. And hers.
Squeeky: Yeah, TREMENDOUS difference; no chance of anyone else over the age of 40 making THAT connection.
Well, Mr. Kernes, if you want to give up your car, and start riding a bike to do your bit, then knock yourself out. In the meantime, this mean old world runs on sex and gasoline. (Rodney Crowell)
And, while I think Bush was nuts to invade Iraq, that is hardly the reason for folks like ISIS. It might have brought them out a little sooner, but they were coming nonetheless. IMO.
And, while I like much of what Elizabeth Warren stands for, she is a naif. She is a Sunday Schooler trying to mix it up with a motorcycle gang.
I don’t care what Palin’s voice sounds like either, it’s better than a voice that sounds like chihuahuas being fed into a wood chipper.
Nope. I will stick with Hillary. Palin has been ridiculed and character-assassinated to the point she would have a hard time winning. The Left doesn’t have to address what she says, they can merely snark and laugh as if they know what they are talking about.
True, and I have been Squeeky Fromm, Girl Reporter for several years. It has a better ring than Squeeky Fromm, Part Time Legal Assistant, or Squeeky Fromm, Cat Mommy, doesn’t it? Or Squeeky Fromm, Poetry Critic, don’t you think???
Ms. Fromme: And even better than Squeeky Fromme, Attempted Presidential Assassin!
“and in vilification on just about every right-wing religious website in the country.”
Gee, I’m so sorry she’s paying the bill for her actions. Maybe just ignore things we don’t like instead of feeling personally attacked for what we see on the street? How many dozens of college kids and professors walked by this display, probably on a daily basis and never assaulted them? Or stole their signs? Cry me a river.
If she and her supporters were actually contrite about the incident this would be different. But instead, the pro-life crowd is called terrorists. I thought blaming the victim was passe?
Bailers: Well, the point of Mr. Turley’s article was essentially, “Why hasn’t she been fired yet?” The answer to that is, “Because she doesn’t deserve it.” And considering how Miller-Young is being portrayed on these right-wing and religious websites, which often is far from reality, and considering the $500 fine and anger-management classes, yeah, she HAS been vilified enough—if not too much.
And before you cast the Shorts as “victims,” it seems to me that any group that calls itself “Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust” is aching for a confrontation, probably first with Jews, who clearly have a much better understanding of the word “holocaust” than these young women and their compatriots do. I wasn’t there, obviously, so I don’t know how these protestors conducted themselves—but if it was anything like the “pro-life counselors” who accost women entering women’s clinics, I’m not surprised that SOMEBODY attacked them. I am sorry it was my friend, and she’s suffering for it.
Sarah Palin, Oy. Squeeky, first Fox, now Sarah Palin. I don’t think Hillary would agree with you. Are you sure you wouldn’t rather start a “Draft Palin for Prez” movement than volunteer for Hillary’s campaign??
Well, we can all be who we want to be on the Internet, right?
Well, she looks like an old biddy to me. And yes, I am suggesting Sarah Palin is somebody who should be taken seriously. She was a governor of a state. She has enough sense to realize the keystone pipeline should have been approved. And that ISIS should have been addressed long before this.
But ya know, her speech mannerisms aren’t East Coast proper, and she has that disturbing habit of not couching what she says in vague terms. So, the elitist type snobs of the Left dismiss her as an ignorant rube. Meanwhile, a Pelosi, who is dotty, is revered.
La de da lives on.
Ms. Fromme: That’s just what I mean! Anyone who knows anything about the rampant climate change going on all around us would oppose polluting the Earth even more with a pipeline that takes polluted tar sands and sends them, if the pipeline doesn’t rupture (as such pipelines are prone to do), some 2000 miles down to Texas for refining—and from there being sent around the globe in search of the largest profit. It’s exactly that type of thinking that’s turning Palin’s home state from an environmentally-friendly wilderness into another corporate machine.
And of course, we wouldn’t be worrying about ISIS now if some U.S. president—what was his name, again?—hadn’t lied us into a war that’s apparently still not over.
Frankly, I don’t care a whit HOW Palin speaks; it’s WHAT she says that I find generally ludicrous. And I’m no particular fan of Pelosi. There are clearly better people for the job. I’d certain support any effort to clone Sen. Elizabeth Warren and run HER for a House seat!
Old biddies can’t have babies anymore, our eggs are all spent, Squeekers. Just because she appears overweight, which many women are as you very well know, doesn’t make her an old biddy, or an old beagle.
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