A feminist professor at a state university in California has been charged with physical confrontation with a pro-life protester from a Christian ministry on campus and with stealing and destroying a banner during an awareness event earlier this month.
University of California at Santa Barbara Associate Professor Mireille Miller-Young, who specializes in black cultural studies and pornography, was on Friday charged with theft, battery and vandalism – all misdemeanors – and her arraignment is scheduled for April 4, according to Santa Barbara Independent.
The alleged victim is from a Riverside-based Christian ministry, Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust.
The incident took place on March 4 when 16-year-old Thrin Short, her older sister Joan, 21, who is a student at Thomas Aquinas College, and some other pro-life activists were holding a banner and demonstrating in a free speech zone on the campus, according to Fox News.
The sisters said after they distributed nearly 1,000 informational pamphlets that day, Miller-Young approached the demonstrators and a group of students at the venue.
"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," Thrin Short told Fox News. "Then she started the chant with the students about 'tear down the sign.' When that died out, she grabbed the sign."
The professor with UCSB's Feminist Studies Department then allegedly walked through two campus buildings with the sign, which displayed graphic imagery of late-term abortions, in her hand. Short, her sister and two students followed closely behind. Miller-Young pushed Short at least three times as she tried to stop an elevator door from closing as the educator stood inside with her sign, the Shorts alleged.
"I explained how I had been trying to keep the elevator door open with my foot, because I thought the police would be there any second, and that's when she pushed and grabbed me," Short said. "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 recorded the incident on a cellphone and posted it to YouTube. Short said she suffered scratches on both wrists. Campus police are examining the video.
However, Miller-Young told police that she felt "triggered" by the images on the posters at her place of work, and that she believed it was her "moral right" to remove the material from sight, according to Santa Barbara Independent. She also said she is pregnant.
"The police did not seem overly concerned about the incident until they saw the video and realized how violent the professor had been," Kristina Garza, director of campus outreach for the Survivors ministry, told the publication.
"She was definitely leading the group," added Joan. "I sincerely doubt any crime would have been committed if she hadn't been there."
According to the university's website, Miller-Young's research explores "race, gender and sexuality in visual culture and sex industries in the United States."