Jennifer Kabbany - Fix Editor

A UC Santa Barbara feminist studies professor pleaded no contest Thursday to all three criminal misdemeanor charges filed against her stemming from an altercation on campus in March in which she accosted a young pro-life activist and stole and destroyed her sign.

Associate Professor Mireille Miller-Young will be sentenced next month for the charges of grand theft person, battery and vandalism, the Santa Barbara District Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.

On March 4, Miller-Young - whose academic focus is on black cultural studies, pornography and sex work – came across a group of prolife students with graphic anti-abortion signs and essentially became frenzied by the exhibit, leading a small mob of students to chant “tear down the sign” before she and two other students stormed off with one of the displays.

The scholar then engaged in an altercation with a teenage prolife protestor who had followed the educator to retrieve it. Much of the scuffle was caught on camera, and it left visible scratches on the young girl’s arms.

Watch the video:

Pleading “no contest” means that Miller-Young does not contest the charges, which will go on her criminal record as a conviction for three misdemeanors. The legal significance is that it cannot be used – as could a guilty plea or a guilty verdict – as evidence in a subsequent civil lawsuit based on the conduct.

“Today’s plea brings us one step closer to seeing justice done in this case,” Life Legal Defense Foundation Legal Director Katie Short, the mother of Miller-Young’s victims, said in a statement. “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.”

After the incident, Miller-Young, who is pregnant, explained to authorities that the graphic images of aborted fetuses negatively “triggered” her to act in the way she did, adding she was a “conscientious objector.” She told police she felt she set a good example for her students, and that she had a “moral” right to act in the way she did.

Short’s father told Fox News in March that he hopes the prosecution of Miller-Young will serve as a lesson for those who seek to halt free speech on campus. “She was free to engage in a rational dialogue with them,” Short said. “Instead, she chose to bully them, steal and destroy their property, and hit and scratch my daughter.” UCSBcourtesyphoto

Life Legal Defense Fund reported Thursday that, to date, the university has made no public statement about the assault nor issued an apology for the criminal actions of its employee and students.

“Two weeks after the incident, Vice-Chancellor Michael Young sent a letter to University of California at Santa Barbara students and faculty decrying the presence of ‘outsiders coming into our midst to provoke us, to taunt us and attempt to turn us against one another,’” fund officials stated. “In what appeared to be a denouncement of the teens advocating a pro-life worldview, he urged students to notify the Office of Student Life if they ‘feel harassed’ or believe that ‘outsiders’ are violating the law.”

“It is not known whether the university has imposed any disciplinary sanctions on Miller-Young, who remains listed in the faculty directory.”

RELATED:

Read one College Fix contributor’s eye-witness account of the March 4 incident.

UCSB Student: Campus Prolife Protestors ‘Domestic Terrorists’

University Official Ridicules Pro-Life Demonstrator Who Was Attacked By Feminist Professor

Mother of Teenage Girl Accosted by Feminist Professor Calls for Civility

Jennifer Kabbany is editor of The College Fix ( @JenniferKabbany )

Like The College Fix on Facebook / Follow us on Twitter

IMAGES: Courtesy photos

{ 4 comments }

Self-described creationist scientist Mark Armitage filed a lawsuit against California State University Northridge this week, claiming he was fired by college officials after he discovered soft tissue on a triceratops horn and published his findings.

The lawsuit alleges religious discrimination and wrongful termination, with Armitage claiming in court documents that after his surprising discovery – which supports a young Earth theory – university officials went on a successful “witchhunt” against him.

Armitage, who has some 30 publications to his credit and is past-president of the Southern California Society for Microscopy, was hired by the university in early 2010 to manage a wide variety of oversight duties for the biology department’s array of state-of-the-art microscopes, court documents state. He also trained students on how to use the complicated equipment.Armitage

In the summer of 2012, while at the world-famous dinosaur dig at Hell Creek Formation in Montana, Armitage discovered the largest triceratops horn ever unearthed at the site, according to his attorneys in a statement.

“When examining the horn under a high-powered microscope back at CSUN, Armitage was fascinated to see the soft tissue,” stated lawyers with the Pacific Justice Institute, which represents Armitage.

According to the lawsuit – a copy of which was posted on the CBS Los Angeles news website – the discovery sent shock waves through the Cal State Northridge community.

“The finding of soft tissue in a triceratops horn, complete with bone cells that look alive, was shocking to many in the department of biology … because such cells would have decayed into nothingness 65 million years ago,” the suit states. “Since some creationists, like plaintiff, believe that the triceratops bones are only 4,000 years old at most, plaintiff’s work vindicated his view that these dinosaurs roamed the planet relatively recently.”

The lawsuit contends that that discovery was the beginning of the end of Artimage’s employment at Cal State Northridge, with one university official storming into his office in June 2012 and shouting: “We are not going to tolerate your religion in this department!”

Things got more tense after the scholar published his findings, first in the November 2012 issue of American Laboratory magazine, which published images of the soft tissue on its cover, and then online in February 2013 in the peer-reviewed journal Acta Histochemica, according to the lawsuit.softtissueimage

On Feb. 27, 2013, his employment was terminated. Campus officials told Armitage his job was only a “temporary appointment,” and claimed a lack of funding for his position, according to his attorneys.

“It has become apparent that ‘diversity’ and ‘intellectual curiosity,’ so often touted as hallmarks of a university education, do not apply to those with a religious point of view,” stated Michael Peffer, an attorney with the Pacific Justice Institute. “This suit was filed, in part, to vindicate those ideals.”

Cal State Northridge spokesperson Carmen Ramos Chandler told CBS Armitage was a temporary hire, declining to comment on the lawsuit as university officials have yet to receive a copy.

The Christian News Network reports that in an interview with GenesisWeek, “Armitage said he was shocked and frustrated when the university terminated his employment.”

“It is frustrating because I made no conclusions in the paper, I just presented the factual data,” Armitage had said. “The only conclusions I drew were that ‘This needs to be investigated further. We have a lot of work to do.’ And that was it.”

The lawsuit, which also alleges that the university violated Armitage’s freedom of speech and academic freedom, seeks compensatory and punitive damages, back pay, attorneys fees, and “an injunction mandating the elimination of discriminatory practices by defendants in the future relating to protected speech activity concerning intelligent design, religious and political speech.”

Armitage’s discovery is not the first reported soft tissue found on dinosaur bones. There was also a 2006 discovery by a North Carolina State University scholar, as well as a Canadian find last year.

h/t: Christian News Network , CBS LA

INSIDE MICROSCOPE IMAGE: Courtesy of Bob Enyart Live

MAIN: Miroslav Petrasko/Flickr

Jennifer Kabbany is editor of The College Fix ( @JenniferKabbany )

Like The College Fix on Facebook / Follow us on Twitter

{ 0 comments }

Pop quiz: Theo has an IQ of 100 and Aine has an IQ of 125. Which of the following statements would you expect to be true?

a) Aine is an atheist, while Theo is a Christian.

b) Aine earns less money than Theo.

c) Theo is more liberal than Aine.

d) Theo is an atheist, while Aine is a Christian.

If you’re a student at Ohio State University, the correct answer is a – “Aine is an atheist, while Theo is a Christian.” Effectively, Ohio State teaches that atheists are smarter than Christians. Ohio State

Campus Reform reported on this question posed to students through an online homework quiz from the college’s Psychology 1100 class. The article goes on to quote a student who said they were uncomfortable and disappointed by the obvious bias of the question.

“I understand that colleges have a liberal spin on things so it didn’t surprise me to see the question, which is a sad thing,” the student told Campus Reform in a phone interview. “But how can you really measure which religion has a higher IQ?”

OSU declined to comment for the story.

This latest outrage is just one small example among so many that can be found at colleges across the country today in which Christians are mocked, scorned, belittled and slandered.

It’s worth mentioning that last year at Ohio State, President Gordon Gee left his position abruptly after controversy mounted over a joke he made, referring to rival university Notre Dame as, “those damn Catholics.”

In 2012, The College Fix looked at hundreds of religious studies classes at universities across the nation and found that, for the most part, professors prefer to snub the subject of who Jesus was and what he preached. Classes that are focused on Christianity, meanwhile, tip-toe around or altogether avoid the topic of Christ’s teachings.

As for Ohio State’s quiz content, in case you are wondering, the current president’s contact info is: [email protected]

Jennifer Kabbany is editor of The College Fix ( @JenniferKabbany )

Like The College Fix on Facebook / Follow us on Twitter

{ 12 comments }

It was only a matter of time.

The University of Virginia offered a “Game of Thrones” English course this summer, a four-week seminar that divided its focus between the novels and popular HBO television series.

“One of the greatest lessons of ‘Game of Thrones,’ the class argues, is how life goes on after death,” according to a university press release describing the 24-student class.

Thankfully students have Game of Thrones to teach them such concepts!

“One of the goals behind this class was to teach students how the skills that we use to study literature are very useful skills for reading literature and TV in conjunction,” stated Lisa Woolfork, the associate professor of English who taught the class. “ ‘Game of Thrones’ is popular, it’s interesting, but it’s also very serious. There are a lot of things in the series that are very weighty, and very meaningful, and can be illuminated through the skills of literary analysis.”

For those who have not read the books, they are filled with sex, violence, death, murder, witchcraft, necromancy, depression, evil, manipulation, incest, betrayal, deep sadness, and much more. Good story lines, great writing. But very dark. Very disturbing.

As for the TV series, has there ever been a movie that’s better than the book? Yet the professor argues the popular series enhanced the books “in a world where the major sources of storytelling are increasingly visual.” Sigh.

Let’s add this GOT class to the growing pile of pop culture-worship glamorized as serious academic scholarly pursuit.

Similar university classes in the recent past include ones on: 50 Shades of Grey, Harry Potter, Mad Men, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, and Jay Z.

Like The College Fix on Facebook / Follow us on Twitter

h/t: Huffington Post

{ 0 comments }

Here’s an early nomination for PolitiFact’s 2014 Lie of the Year:

“IRS emails could not be recovered – they’re (insert excuse of the moment) missing … lost … recycled … crashed … scratched … destroyed.”

Nobody buys that. Not for a second. In fact, this week the IRS started backpedaling on the claim because it is so ludicrous.

Earlier this week, The College Fix added to that discourse with a story citing a computer science professor who discounted the IRS claim.

“Frankly, the official IRS reply to the investigators is similar to that of the student whose excuse for a missing assignment is that ‘my dog ate it,’” Furman University computer science professor Thomas Allen said.

Allen said that – in general – for emails to go missing, it would take something far beyond a simple “computer crash.”

“A hard drive crash … may damage directory information so that the [operating system] cannot find the data, but most of the data would still be there,” Allen told The Fix.

Only when new data completely override the old data will information disappear, unless the hard drive itself is physically damaged – say, using a sledgehammer.

He made the comments for a larger piece that quoted several IT professionals who made similar arguments.

College Fix contributor Courtney Such also interviewed Peter Eckersley, Electronic Frontier Foundation technology project director, who said he sees how a large organization could lose data – but that’s not the end of the story.

“In general, emails tend to be stored in at least 2-4 places: the sender’s mail server, the recipient’s mail server, sometimes the sender’s individual computer and the recipient’s individual computer,” and “there should usually be backups taken from some or all of those places,” Eckersley said.

In fact, the story culled comments from technologists, IT professionals and cyber experts who said they are not only unaware of documented instances of schools citing crashed servers or systems in responding to litigation or records’ requests, it’s becoming increasingly hard to credibly make such an excuse.

The International Association of Information Technology Asset Managers, which said last month the IRS’s lost-email explanation “does not seem plausible,” told the Justice Department and Congress on Monday what questions they should be asking as the Lerner probe drags on.

If an IT expert performed the “wiping” or destruction of the hard drive, then there should be documentation of the work, the association said Monday: “Until that documentation is provided, the hard drives should be considered lost, not destroyed.” 

I, for one, am eager to see this email lie exposed. Those emails are somewhere in the bowels of the beltway. Either that, or they were destroyed in an attempt to obstruct justice.

Jennifer Kabbany is editor of The College Fix ( @JenniferKabbany )

Like The College Fix on Facebook / Follow us on Twitter

IMAGE: Beach Breeze / Flickr

{ 1 comment }

Spending $300,000 to pay Hillary Clinton to speak on campus last spring was a waste of money, according to the results of a recent UCLA Daily Bruin online poll.

The poll’s question noted that: “Hillary Clinton’s recent $300,000 paycheck for speaking at the Luskin Lecture for Thought Leadership has captured the attention of news outlets around the country. What do these large fees for notable speakers say about UCLA and the Luskin lecture series?”

Her 90-minute March 5 appearance – the itinerary of which was a half-hour photo line followed by a 60-minute speech and moderated Q&A – amounts to roughly $3,300 per minute that the former Secretary of State and possible 2016 Democratic presidential contender earned for her time.

Of the 271 people who participated in the multiple-choice poll on the student newspaper’s website, the top pick – 48 percent or 131 voters – agreed that “large sums are inappropriate and demonstrate poor prioritizing on the part of the university and the Luskin lecture series.”

Another large chunk of respondents – 27 percent or 73 votes – called the large sums “unfortunate, but without them UCLA might not obtain the same level of notable speakers for the lecture.”

A smaller margin – 21 percent or 58 votes – agreed it was worth the money, calling it an “inspiring and rare opportunity.” The final nine voters were undecided.

The Luskin Lecture for Thought Leadership was launched in 2011 and is funded through the aid of wealthy businessman and UCLA donor Meyer Luskin, who is also a supporter of President Barack Obama, giving money to his campaigns in the past, according to online Federal Election Commission records.

UCLA’s Luskin lecture has paid for exactly three speeches to date: one from former President Bill Clinton in 2012, which cost $250,000; another by former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2013, which the Daily Bruin reports earned the diplomat $180,000; and most recently by Hillary Clinton in March, who was given $300,000 for her time.

“Hillary Clinton has inspired a lot of students, but when you talk about funding, $300,000 could have gone somewhere else to create concrete changes,” Conrad Contreras, the Undergraduate Students Association Council external vice president, told the Daily Bruin in a July 7 article. “It’s difficult to see that UCLA is paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to someone who is already wealthy when I have friends and families working countless hours to stay in higher education.”

In that same article, the Daily Bruin noted that Condoleezza Rice and Madeleine Albright have given speeches at UCLA in the past and charged no fee when they came to speak through the UCLA Burkle Center for International Relations.

After the Bruin’s article was published, Joseph Rudnick, senior dean of UCLA College of Letters and Science, defended the Luskin series in a letter to the editor, saying “thanks to their gift, the UCLA College has built a signature lecture on campus without the need to use public funds. To date, three world leaders have come to campus to share their thoughts on the important issues shaping our world, and each time, students have attended these lectures free of charge.”

Except there was a near riot when those free tickets to Hillary Clinton’s appearance were doled out to students, the Bruin reported at the time. In fact, many students were shut out of the event due to a lack of space, prompting officials to agree to live-stream it to the overflow crowd.

The venue choice had even prompted students to petition to have the speech relocated.

“Live-streams are just like (glorified) videos, which we can watch on YouTube anytime,” one student who launched the petition told the Bruin. “The experience of witnessing someone speak in person is something that I can’t even put into words, and that is what I’m advocating for. … Students have the most to gain and usually most interest in such lectures, but it looks almost like a campaign event for Hillary where the only people who can afford to attend are those already donating to the campaign.”

The speech was a campus fundraiser that raised money for UCLA scholarships through the sale of tickets, which cost $100 to $500 dollars apiece. The Clintons have said that they transferred their campus speaking fees to their family’s nonprofit.

Jennifer Kabbany is editor of The College Fix ( @JenniferKabbany )

Like The College Fix on Facebook / Follow us on Twitter

IMAGE: U.S. Department of State

{ 3 comments }