Professor Charged in Clash With Teen Abortion Protester

Monday, 24 Mar 2014 04:10 PM

By Joe Battaglia

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A feminist studies associate professor at the University of California-Santa Barbara is facing criminal charges, accused of stealing a sign from an anti-abortion protester on campus and then physically attacking the teenager in an incident that was captured on  cellphone video.

Mireille Miller-Young was charged with misdemeanor counts of theft, battery, and vandalism, accused of  accosting Thrin Short, 16. She is scheduled to be arraigned on April 4.

Short and her older sister, Joan, 21, were among a group distributing pamphlets for the nonprofit, anti-abortion group Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust in a free-speech zone on campus on March 4 when Miller-Young allegedly became disruptive.

"Before she grabbed the sign, she was mocking me and talking over me in front of the students, saying that she was twice as old as me and had three degrees, so they should listen to her and not me," Short wrote in an email to FoxNews.com.

"Then she started the chant with the students about 'tear down the sign.' When that died out, she grabbed the sign."

The Short sisters and two other UC-Santa Barbara students followed Miller-Young, who specializes in "queer theory" and teaches courses on pornography, as she allegedly made off with the sign, and tried to recover it.

After walking through an outdoor corridor and into a building, Miller-Young attempted to board an elevator with the sign. When Thrin Short blocked the elevator door from closing with her foot, Miller-Young "pushed and grabbed at the girl."

"She then got off the elevator and tried to pull me away from the elevator doors so the others could get away with the sign," Short wrote in her email to FoxNews.

Short, who suffered scratches on both wrists during the incident, captured much of the confrontation on video with her cellphone and has posted it on YouTube. She said campus police are now reviewing the video.

According to the Santa Barbara Independent, Miller-Young suggested in her interview with police that the activists had violated her rights by displaying upsetting imagery at her place of work and that she had a "moral right" to take down the sign. She added that she is pregnant and was "triggered" by the graphic nature of the imagery on the sign.

It has not yet been determined whether Miller-Young faces any punishment from UC-Santa Barbara. A school spokesman declined to comment on personnel matters, per policy, but acknowledged the university was aware of the incident and said, "It is being reviewed by the appropriate offices."

William Short, father of the two young activists, said that Miller-Young went about her objection in the wrong way and that he hopes the impending legal proceeding will set a better example than she did.

"She was free to engage in a rational dialogue with them. Instead, she chose to bully them, steal and destroy their property, and hit and scratch my daughter," William Short told FoxNews.

"After doing so, she said she thought she was setting a good example for her students. I think the goal of this prosecution should be to set a good example for her students, one that will not only deter her from repeating this conduct but will also deter those who approve of her actions from imitating her appalling behavior."

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