We have seen a litany of attacks on conservative and pro-life students on college campuses in the last couple of years. Even professors have joined in such attacks, including one who pleaded guilty to assault and was supported by other faculty members and even honored at other schools. The most recent example is an attack on a member of the pro-life group Created Equal at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. The attack was caught on video (below) and student Jillian Ward, 19, was charged.
On the video, Ward gave the same defense that we heard in other cases — that she was “triggered” by the pro-life displays. The group showed pictures of aborted children. Ward is shown walking up and asking them, “Did y’all put these up?” When Austin Beigel says that he did, she immediately punched him in the face and then repeatedly around the stomach.
Ward is heard screaming “F***ing terrible person. You’re a terrible person. You — this is not okay. This is not okay. This is not okay. Shut the f**k up right now. This is wrong. This is triggering. You’re not an innocent human being. You’re a terrible person.”
After years of some academics and administrators telling students that they should be protected from “triggering” views and microaggressive conduct, it is not surprising that some like Ward would believe they have license to act in this way.
Some faculty have shown students that they have a right to silence others or even attack those with opposing views. One incident occurred at the California State University where assistant professor of public health professor Greg Thatcher is shown on a videotape wiping out the pro-life statements written in chalk by members of Fresno State Students for Life. The university is now being sued over the incident.
The incident also raises troubling memories of the controversy surrounding the confrontation of Feminist Studies Associate Professor Mireille Miller-Young with pro-life advocates on campus of the University of California at Santa Barbara. Miller-Young led her students in attacking the pro-life display, stealing their display, and then committing battery on one of the young women. She was convicted and sentenced for the crime. Despite the shocking conduct of Miller-Young and the clear violation of the most fundamental values for all academics in guaranteeing free speech and associational rights, the faculty overwhelmingly supported Miller-Young and the university decided not to impose any meaningful discipline. To make matters worse, Michael D. Young, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, not only issued a statement that seemed to blame the victims but practically defended Miller-Young’s conduct. Faculty and student defenders attacked the pro-life advocates and one even referred to them as “terrorists” who did not deserve free speech. Miller-Young should have been fired but was instead lionized by faculty and students.
This video shows a similar sense of entitlement and immunity in striking out at those with opposing views. Presumably, Ward will be expelled from UNC but that is far from certain. It did not happen with Miller-Young at UC-Santa Barbara as a faculty member who pleaded guilty to assaulting pro-life advocates.