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. 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 people set up three large signs. 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 words with the group. 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 taking one of the banners.
Joan said she called 9-1-1 and Thrin started filming, and that the pair followed Miller-Young and two of her students. As Miller-Young and the students boarded an elevator, Joan said that Thrin blocked the door with her hand and foot and that Miller-Young pushed her back. Miller-Young then exited the elevator and tried to yank Thrin away from the door while the students attempted to take her smartphone. The struggle ended when Thrin relented, Miller-Young walked off, the students rode up in the elevator, and officers arrived to interview those involved. Dr. Miller-Young is apparently charged with several misdemeanors in connection with the incident.
The incident highlights how third wave/sex positive/queer theory/leftist thinkers sometimes react when confronted by ideas they do not like. Other incidents of assaultive behavior in the recent past occurred at the Dyke March in 2012 and at a speaking event in which Lierre Keith was pied in the face.
We do not agree with the political position of Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust or their tactics. We also do not agree with the professor’s reaction. The answer to speech you dislike is more speech – not assault or other forms of physical intimidation.