SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — A California professor who was caught on camera stealing a sign from a pro-life group on campus, and then later destroyed the sign with scissors, has plead “no contest” to criminal charges stemming from the incident.
As previously reported, on March 4th, the pro-life organization Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust held a peaceful abortion awareness campaign on the University of California-Santa Barbara (UCSB) campus. Over a dozen students with the group distributed 900 pro-life informational pamphlets to UCSB students and displayed several large, handheld signs with graphic images of abortion victims.
Although several UCSB students expressed gratitude for the pro-life messages, Mireille Miller-Young, a professor in feminist studies, whose areas of study include Black Film, Feminist and Queer Theory, Sex Work, and Pornography, approached the group and threatened to forcibly remove their anti-abortion materials.
“We don’t need to listen to these people!” Miller-Young shouted, according to witnesses. “They don’t have our permission to be here. Should we tear down their sign?”
Miller-Young then incited several pro-abortion students to chant, “Tear down this sign! Tear down this sign!”
Then, as captured on a cell phone video published by the Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust, Miller-Young grabbed a sign from one of the members of the group and carried it into a nearby building.
“I may be a thief, but you’re terrorists!” Miller-Young yelled as she and two pro-abortion students walked away with the sign.
Students with the Christian pro-life group were shocked.
“She’s a professor and she’s stealing a sign!” one of the youth can be heard exclaiming in the video. “She’s a thief!”
Two of the pro-life students—16-year-old Thrin Short and her 21-year-old sister Joan—followed Miller-Young into the building. However, the professor entered an elevator and then pushed the students away when they tried to follow her. Thrin was left with scratches on her arms from the professor’s shoves.
According to a report filed by the UCSB Police Department, Miller-Young destroyed the pro-life poster with scissors in her office. When asked by a police officer if there had been a struggle for the sign, the professor simply said, “I’m stronger so I was able to take the poster.”
“Miller-Young said that she found this material offensive because she teaches about women’s ‘reproductive rights’ and is pregnant,” the police report also outlined. “Miller-Young … stated that she had the ‘moral’ right to act the way she did.”
But the Santa Barbara district attorney’s office agreed with the students that the professor’s actions were unlawful. It proceeded with formal charges against Miller-Young: one count each of theft, battery and vandalism.
On Thursday, Miller-Young plead “no contest” in court. While the plea is not an admission of guilt, it is often treated as such and moves the case toward sentencing. However, “no contest” pleas are also used in the event that a civil suit could be filed, so that no admission of guilt will be found in court records.
“Today’s plea brings us one step closer to seeing justice done in this case,” commented attorney Katie Short of the Life Legal Defense Foundation, mother of Thrin and Joan. “Pro-life advocates should not be subjected to intimidation and violence for lawfully exercising their right to free speech, and we are happy to see that Ms. Miller-Young is being held accountable for her actions.”