Letters to the Editor / Opinion

Deltopia: Still Not as Bad as Miller-Young

Disappointed though I may be in the Deltopia rioters, I cannot say that I am surprised.

How can UCSB students be expected to behave like decent and socially responsible citizens, when UCSB professors do not? How can we demand orderly conduct of our fellow students, when it is so absent in many of the professors hired to educate us? When Feminist Studies Professor Mireille Miller-Young led a mob against a group of teenaged pro-life protestors, destroying their property and assaulting them, and the university turned a blind eye, how can we then turn around and demand that our students behave any better?

What kind of example did Professor Miller-Young set for the students of UCSB?

The mob that attacked Thrin and Joan Short on March 4 was far smaller, far less destructive to people and property and will probably do far less to damage our university’s public reputation than the Deltopia fiasco. However, of the two mobs, I honestly find the Miller-Young mob to be far more worrisome. The Deltopia riot was leaderless and meaningless, chaos for the sake of chaos. When the police attempt to close a street full of 15,000 drunk revelers, many of them out-of-towners with no loyalty to our community, a riot is all but inevitable.

The Miller-Young attack, on the other hand, was not leaderless or meaningless. It was led by one of our professors. Rather than setting an example of tolerance for the opposition, and restraint in the face of provocative views, she set an example of violent censorship. And, although actions have elicited criminal charges and have been denounced by Vice Chancellor Michael Young, far too many students and professors at our university have lionized Miller-Young into an unfairly accused victim. One online petition, with nearly 2,000 signatures, demands that UCSB “issue a statement of support” for the professor who belittled and assaulted a 16-year-old girl, expresses “love & solidarity to Professor Miller-Young” as a “womyn of color,” and asks that school policy be changed to remove triggering (read: unpopular) speech.

As a UCSB student, I am more ashamed of our reaction to the Miller-Young incident than I am of the Deltopia riot.

Even many of those who denounced Professor Miller-Young still blamed the protestors for provoking her to anger. The same people who are so fond of constantly haranguing everyone about the fact that there are no excuses for rape might do well to keep in mind that there are also no excuses for violent censorship — “she was asking for it” just doesn’t cut it in this case anymore than it does in cases of sexual assault.

People have pointed the finger at a number of possible causes for the Deltopia riots — the influx of out-of-towners, the recent installation of security cameras in Isla Vista, poor handling of the noise ordinance announcement by the police and local government. Allow me to point the finger at another possible contributing factor: Mireille Miller-Young and the students and faculty who supported her.

Mob psychology can be extremely powerful. As someone who witnessed part of the riots on Saturday night, I can say that the excitement in the air was palpable and there was a definite temptation to abandon all reason and revel in the chaos. Of course, another (and I’m proud to say much larger) part of me was horrified at the pointless destruction — but if I had believed that the ruckus and mayhem could be carried out in pursuit of a higher cause, it might have been a different story. Getting to smash stuff and justify it in the name of social justice — what could be more fun? For many immature people, letting loose one’s most primeval destructive energy and being lionized for it is the ultimate win-win, and many student riots start this way. Thrill-seekers go looking for a good time, knowing they can justify their actions by saying they were sticking it to the man or fighting for Rodney King or trying to help destroy the military industrial complex which is hurting those poor Palestinians and Iraqis, which I’m sure the overgrown children smashing store windows and stealing stuff care soooo much about.

The partygoers who rioted Saturday night did not have any ostensible higher justification to fall back on, but the attackers led by Professor Miller-Young did. Operating on their most primitive impulses, they claimed instead to be acting from their most noble beliefs. When confronted with a view in opposition to yours, coming up with a rebuttal is hard — It takes work and brainpower. But raging at them, verbally and physically attacking them and stealing their property — that’s easy, and it’s also fun! Who cares about some noble abstraction like free speech, when you can fuck shit up in the moment? And why should you think twice, when you know that you will probably not face serious consequences for your actions? If the “Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust” were a little less litigious, Professor Miller-Young would be in no trouble at all. She would have received a half-assed denouncement of her actions from the school, and a good deal of public hatred that would have been more than offset by the hordes of social justice warriors making her into their latest sick role model.

And when UCSB students learn by example that they can form violent mobs and get away with it … is it really any surprise, what happened in Isla Vista the other night?

Jason Garshfield is a second-year political science major.

Views expressed on the Opinion page do not necessarily reflect those of the Daily Nexus or UCSB. Opinions are primarily submitted by students.
This is a Daily Nexus online exclusive.
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  1. tinklejoss says:

    Indeed, I’ve seen faculty confiscate skateboards. It is not having a doctorate, but being hired as a faculty member that confers authority. Sure, she said some wrong things, and has some regret, but all of that doesn’t change the basics. She had authority to confiscate the sign and even destroy it, just like a 3rd grade teacher could do at a public elementary school. And take a look at the signs, right next to the Arbor lunch spot:


    • You need to get past your us Vs them mentality. Of course you disagree with the protesters message and see the impending dismissal of the teacher as a victory for the pro life movement.

      Please stand back for once and try to see what the teachers prosecution really is. It is a victory for freedom of speech. The same freedom that was used to protest the restrictions on the right to choose.

    • tinklejoss says:

      Actually, I see this prosecution as a victory for those who want to turn public education into chaos. Some people want to destroy public education because it teaches things they don’t like. They are the ones (like the Shorts) encouraging complete disregard for the pre-existing rules on public campuses.

  2. The Nexus has published some excellent letters and columns recently, and this one is certainly among the best. Very well written and reasoned, Mr. Garshfield. I happen to be fascinated by mob behavior, and you get it. Btw, if you happen to like soccer, check out the book Among the Thugs.

  3. Regents Regulation 100002

    Who enforces Regulation 100014. Call the campus police and let them handle it. Is the professor above the Regents?

  4. tinklejoss says:

    Nice to argue for these posters right next to lunch spots:

    Did you ever check Regents Regulation 100014? I guess the Shorts are above the Regents.

    Perhaps Miller-Young was just enforcing the rules.

    • If an animal rights group like PETA came to campus with graphic pictures of animals being slaughtered, I doubt a single person would try to silence them. You just don’t like pro-lifers. (Neither do I, but I don’t feel it’s my prerogative to silence views I don’t like.)

      • Matt Meyer says:

        Yes, you just hit the nail on the head.

      • tinklejoss says:

        When PETA has come to campus they:
        1)Get prior written permission to display their posters; to get that permission they:
        a)Post 5 warning signs starting 50 yards prior to their display;
        b)screen their signs so that casual passers-by don’t inadvertently see them
        c)verbally inform people who enter the screened area that they might be sickened by the images within.

        The anti-abortion protestors didn’t even try to get approval.

        Groups other than PETA, including pro-Palistinian & holocaust memorial groups, have followed the same procedure.

        `Obey the rules or get out’… Governor Ronald Reagan to the advocates of Berkeley’s Free Speech Movement in 1966. In fact, Mario Savio went to jail for 120 days and was denied readmission to Berkeley for distributing typed leaflets (with no images at all, just words) on Sproul Plaza. The prosecution was spearheaded by Edwin Meese III, later Governor Reagan’s Chief of Staff, and also Attorney General under President Reagan.

        • Yes, yes, yes. The posters should not have been there. You are right 777 undecillion percent. However, in any of those rules, does it say: in violation of these rules, any professor have the authority to assault anyone carrying these signs. We have a campus police, call them and let them handle it.

          • tinklejoss says:

            Nowhere is exclusive enforcement of campus regulations assigned to the police.

            It has historically been understood that faculty enforce regulations and call the police or the dean or the vice chancellor or the chancellor if the situation warrants. It is the faculty member’s call to make. Just the same as at all public high schools & elementary schools.

            Assault? There was no assault. There was a non-affiliate chasing after a faculty member because that non-affiliate thought they were *special* and weren’t subject to campus regulations. The non-affiliate was actually trying to interfere with and resist enforcement of campus regulations.

            • OK, I guess it is not assault. It is battery. It would be fine if she was trying to enforce a regulation as it has been historically understood but according to her statement in the police report, it was a result of an argument that have become passionate. Then she further stated that she took the sign just because she is stronger. She further said that she did not know the limitations of free speech indicating that she did not really know that she is enforcing regulation as it has been historically understood. The moment she put her hands on one of the girls, she just gave them the media attention they needed and because of that, she gave them the opportunity to be *special* from all the attention. In the end it will be about campus regulation as it is historically understood versus the law. Again, if any campus regulation have been violated, call the police and let them handle it.

              • tinklejoss says:

                Had she not been stronger, she could not have taken the sign. That was a hyper empirical response, and a flip response. Not the first time an exasperated faculty member has been a smart ass.
                Faculty enforce regulations day in and day out. Otherwise there would be massive cheating in all their classes. Deciding which regulations they can and cannot enforce is slicing absurdly thin. And it was the Short girls who wanted a confrontation by chasing to the elevator. They should have said, `A faculty member, I should show respect, and not chase them’.

                • I have not heard of a physical altercation or battery charges occurring when someone was caught cheating. And yeah, a flip response that is in a police report that can be used against her and I am just talking about the media. Why is it so hard to admit that she overreacted – she even admitted in the same police report that maybe she should not have taken the sign. Yes, commanding someone to take down a sign, then calling the police after they did not comply or forcefully taking them away from someone’s hands then physically making sure they cannot take it back while fleeing the scene, the difference is absurdly thin. Yes, one can respect someone who have earned their doctorate, but that does not give them instant authority to engage anyone physically. There are a lot of regulations on campus, for example, riding your bike while on your phone, or skateboarding on the walkways are not allowed. Are we going to see faculty forcefully taking those bikes, skateboards and phones away? Maybe they should…

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