An associate professor of feminist studies at UC Santa Barbara could face vandalism and other charges after she allegedly stole and destroyed an anti-abortion group’s sign on campus earlier this month.
UC Santa Barbara Police have released few details about the March 4 incident involving associate professor Mireille Miller-Young, and have forwarded the case on to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office to decide whether to file criminal theft and vandalism charges, said Sgt. Robert Romero.
District Attorney Joyce Dudley said Tuesday that a determination would hopefully come sometime this week after investigators interview more witnesses.
Romero said university police would not release any further information about the incident, but the Christian pro-life group involved in the confrontation has posted a copy of a police report on its website.
According to the report posted by Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust, the altercation with Miller-Young occurred about 11:15 a.m. on March 4 as the professor was walking through the Arbor near Davidson Library to her office in South Hall.
Miller-Young told police she was “triggered” by the graphic images of fetuses on posters displayed by the group, whose members approached her with literature about abortion.
One of the girls in that group has chronicled her side of the story in another blog post.
According to the police report, the professor found the literature and pictures “disturbing” and “offensive” because she teaches reproduction rights and because she is pregnant. At that point, the report says, Miller-Young demanded the images be taken down as a crowd of students gathered, and she then grabbed a sign from a girl’s hands.
“Asked if there had been a struggle, Miller-Young stated, ‘I’m stronger so I was able to take the poster,’” the report said.
Miller-Young and several students then allegedly took the poster to her office, where it was destroyed, according to the report.
“Miller-Young said that she was ‘mainly’ responsible for the poster’s destruction because she was the only one with scissors,” the report said.
The report indicated that Miller-Young could be charged with vandalism, battery and robbery, and that the anti-abortion group wanted to pursue charges.
The professor told police she would pay for the poster but that she would “hate it.”
Miller-Young argued she set a good example for her students and that she acted within her moral rights, even though she acknowledged the sign didn’t belong to her.
The report goes on to say that Miller-Young thought the pro-life group may have violated university policy, and that she acted “in defense of her students and her own safety.”
Miller-Young's attorney, Catherine Swysen, said her client couldn't offer any comment pending results of the investigation.
The university has not released a statement about the incident.