In a world where students are no longer allowed to speak freely on campus and are limited to designated “free speech zones,” students still aren’t safe to express their opinions.
Back in March, a feminist studies professor at University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) assaulted a 16 year-old pro-life activist who was displaying literature on campus. The professor, Mireille Miller-Young, called the pro-life group members “terrorists” after she stole their poster displaying graphic abortion images.
Let’s be clear—the students had every right to be on campus educating their peers about a cause they are passionate about. The violence and intolerance that ensued from Professor Miller-Young was unacceptable.
Just last week Professor Miller-Young issued an apology saying that she is “invested in her community, in education, in women’s rights, and in free speech and social justice issues.” What’s interesting is that apparently her involvement and investment in these issues only apply to progressive concepts.
Furthermore, letters of support were written by colleagues on her behalf and were obtained by the Santa Barbara News Press. These letters cited that Professor Miller-Young was pregnant at the time and that the graphic images she saw were “deeply offensive” to her and that due to her pregnancy she was “not one’s self fully.” Other letters cited that the “right-wing” media sought to portray Professor Miller-Young as an “angry black woman” and that was the only reason for outrage behind her violent and intolerant behavior.
All logic seems to have gone out the window in this case. How can Professor Miller-Young and her colleagues defend her violent actions against a student? How is it that they can’t see the irony in blaming her “pregnancy” as a reason for attacking a pro-life activist? As a feminist studies professor who claims she seizes every opportunity to promote equality and free speech—why is it that she neglected to understand this female student’s pro-life views and respect her values?
The feminist movement in our country seems to ignore the effects of abortion as well as the emotional impact of the procedure on the women who undergo it. Instead they advocate for women’s rights, social justice, and equality—yet they forget about the rights of the unborn. Abortion is an epidemic in our country and more has to be done on college campuses to educate young women about it. The students who were passing out literature at UCSB had every right to be there no matter how “deeply offensive” their literature was to Professor Miller-Young.
A Young America’s Foundation (YAF) poll shows that 52 percent of students agree that professors do not present alternative viewpoints when there are different sides to an issue. This is a sad reality of the state of higher education in our country. When more than half of college students recognize that their professors are biased on a wide variety of topics. We need to do more to embrace differing viewpoints in academia and create an environment where all views are encouraged and respected.
UCSB has yet to officially condemn the actions of Professor Miller-Young. Michael Young, the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs sent out a school-wide email titled “Students and Free Speech at UCSB” back in March saying that “we are tested once again, outsiders coming into our midst to provoke us, to taunt us and attempt to turn us against one another as they promote personal causes and agendas.” His words prove that tolerance toward conservative values doesn’t exist on the UCSB campus and condemns the pro-life activists for their “extreme” agenda.
Sadly, this is all too common in liberal academia. Professors have an agenda in and outside of the classroom. Tolerance only extends to their beliefs and if students have a differing opinion they may face unfair treatment—or violence in this case. University and college campuses should be places of tolerance where all opinions are respected and valued. Students should feel safe in expressing their beliefs and should never feel threatened in their environment.