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Professor Sally Jacobsen Apologizes

Sally Jacobsen, Professor at Northern Kentucky University, who destroyed the pro-life display "Cemetery of Innocents" has had a change of heart about her actions.

"I deeply regret my impulsive action in dismantling that display."


The NKU Professor suspended for tearing down an anti-abortion display says she's sorry for embarrassing the university. The controversy surrounding free speech and abortion rights on the Northern Kentucky University campus has taken a sharp turn. One day after she was placed on leave, and only two weeks from retirement, English Professor Doctor Sally Jacobsen has reversed her position. Last week, Jacobsen defended leading a group of students to tear down a campus display that she found offensive. Local 12 Reporter Joe Webb sat down with her Tuesday as she changed her tune.

"No. I don't have any regrets."

That was Professor Sally Jacobsen two days after she and a few students were caught on camera taking down a university-approved anti-abortion display. Four days, a few hundred hate e-mails and a university reprimand later, Dr. Jacobsen changed her stance.

"I really love NKU and care very much about my students and don't want them to be harmed. It was a mistake of judgment for me to invite my students to participate in that action. At this point, I really want the university to be able to defuse the firestorm of attention around this."

The students who went along with Sally Jacobsen's anti-free speech tirade may be in luck. It appears the police aren't planning on pressing charges against them:

Students involved in the removal of the crosses have the possibility of facing criminal charges of a class D felony, according to NKU police. Though no charges have been pressed by the Northern Right to Life group, NKU Officer Rob Yelton said they are imminent. "The group has indicated that they are willing to press charges," he said.


However, Yelton and Lt. Col. Jeffrey Martin don't believe that the students involved will face legal retribution. "At this time, we don't anticipate the students being charged," Martin said. "They were intimidated by an authority figure into believing that this was not a criminal act."

The investigation, Yelton said, is three-quarters of the way finished and Commonwealth Attorney Jack Porter is expected to call the department shortly. "The prosecutor will make the final decision," Yelton said.

Yelton and Martin also said although the prosecutor does have the right to charge the students for their involvement, he also has other options. "The prosecutor has a right to grant (the students) immunity," Martin said. "He could choose to prosecute, but I just don't see that happening."

Police believe the prosecutor will pursue charges against Jacobsen. "I would anticipate that (Jacobsen) will be charged," Martin said. "The probable cause is overwhelming."

Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit has a letter from NKU President James Vortuba about this situation. Here's a portion:

It has been heartening that student and faculty groups that do not necessarily support the position of Northern Kentucky Right to Life have come out strongly in support of the organization's right to be heard through their display. This reflects a commitment to the importance of free speech and inquiry as a hallmark of our University.


Professor Jacobsen has been removed from her remaining classes and placed on leave from the University. She will retire from the University at the end of this semester. The Faculty Senate, representing more than 1,000 NKU faculty members, has taken strong action today that affirms the importance of free expression as a defining quality of the University. Our campus has spoken with a strong and unified voice. Further action may occur once a full investigation has been completed.

The action taken by the University should be considered in the context of Professor Jacobsen's entire 27 year career at NKU. Nevertheless, her recent lapse of judgment was severe and, for a period of time, has caused some in our community and beyond to question whether Northern Kentucky University upholds freedom of expression. My answer to this question is an unequivocal yes. NKU lives its commitment to free expression and responds when that commitment has been compromised.

America is, today, debating a variety of polarizing issues around which people feel great passion. It is not surprising that these strong sentiments find their way onto college campuses. However, our role is to add light to these debates, not more heat. If we don't serve this role, who will?

Finally, someone from American academia gets it.


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Comments (17)

She wasn't showing any remo... (Below threshold)

She wasn't showing any remorse before she found out that she was being charged. She's not sorry she did it, she's terribly sorry that she might go to jail for it though. It probably won't amount to much, what is the sentence for being intolerant to those you call intolerant?

"They were intimidated b... (Below threshold)

"They were intimidated by an authority figure into believing that this was not a criminal act."

W. T. F??? I don't accept that these people didn't know they were breaking the law no matter what Jacobsen said to them. Of course, if it's true, then how did such stupid, gullible people ever manage to get into college?

The perfect punishment for ... (Below threshold)
AndyJ:

The perfect punishment for the professor and the students would be for them to replace the desplay exactly as it was and to have to hand out anti-abortion literature for the time that the display is up.

"I deeply regret that I was... (Below threshold)
Master Shake:

"I deeply regret that I was caught on camera commiting a crime. I also regret that I did not send my brainwashed students to kill the photographer and retrieve the camera."

Yea, notice the use of the ... (Below threshold)

Yea, notice the use of the term "dismantle."

She didn't destroy a University approved monument. She only "dismantled" it.

Hardly a crime there. Move along.

That's the thing about liberal bullies. Once someone, anyone, stands up to them ... they abandon their deeply-held beliefs.

It's why we don't elect them.

I'm not impressed. It soun... (Below threshold)

I'm not impressed. It sounds like all she was sorry for is getting called out on her vandalism.

She and her students should be sentenced to sensitivity training on 1st Amendment issues.

Immediate, forced retiremen... (Below threshold)

Immediate, forced retirement. Bravo.

Another one of those "I'm s... (Below threshold)

Another one of those "I'm sorry I got caught" apologies. Reminds me of the movie (Old School, I think) where Will Ferrell got drunk, shouted something to the effect of "Let's go streaking! Follow me!" and started running down the street. About a block later he looked behind him to find there was no one there.

Wavemaker - more like retir... (Below threshold)
JD:

Wavemaker - more like retirement four weeks earlier than planned. With the same pension and bennies as before.

However, had this individual been actually terminated by the university, there probably would have been an adverse effect on her pension, not to mention an adverse effect on leftard profs who think that their way MUST be the only way.

NKU is ducking this bigtime and hoping it will blow over. Perhaps they are in negotiations with Cynthia McKinney to go slug a (former) lacrosse player at Duke University.

A regret isn't an apology. ... (Below threshold)

A regret isn't an apology. If she hadn't been caught do you think she'd have any regrets? Me neither.

I liked the president's ori... (Below threshold)

I liked the president's original statement, but looking at this whole thing in perspective, and seeing the students getting off apparently [politically incorrect, but I have Highland blood in me, so there] Scott-Free, this is indeed an attempt to paper over some pretty nasty stuff without any real accountability.

Charge the Prof and the Students! Lets see what a panel of peers have to say about it!

I guess if we had the culpa... (Below threshold)

I guess if we had the culpable students flayed alive in front of the entire student body, then some of the commentors might be satisfied...

At the least, the university's actions put the fear of the law--if not the fear of God--in their heads. To me, it sounds like a perfect opportunity to learn civic responsibilities through dodging a legal bullet on a technicality. And nobody got killed.

I don't know the professor's 27-year history. Maybe she was absolutely brilliant, then slipped a cog. Maybe she was a moonbat all the while. But lacking that information, I'm in no position to determine whether early retirement, even by a few weeks, is or is not appropriate. And I'm certainly in no position to judge the school's president's behavior as somehow defective.

Sure wish I could join you guys' world where all knowledge resides in your brain pans and you leap to judgment so inerrantly. Must be nice...

It's all well and good to k... (Below threshold)

It's all well and good to keep an open mind, but if those students honestly believed what they were doing was okay, must have made the mistake of letting their brains fall out.

John Burgess, if I had any confidence in their ability to learn a damn thing from this experience, I might agree with you more than I do. But you can't fix stupid.

The apology is Sandy Burgu... (Below threshold)
virgo:

The apology is Sandy Burgularish in that He was not sorry until He got caught with the goods in His pants..i wonder what He destroyed anyway?

"They were intimidated by a... (Below threshold)

"They were intimidated by an authority figure into believing that this was not a criminal act."

Well, then by all means let them off the hook, we can hardly expect more from 4th graders, they don't know bett...what's that you say? They were college students? College students that don't now the difference between basic right and wrong and that stifling another's free speech is not how one exercises one's own? Oh, sorry, then.

I certainly hope she gets fired, I can hardly believe the taxpayers want to fund the unsullied retirement of someone that, if they weren't close to retirement, would probably have been outright canned.

If your looking for protect... (Below threshold)
smitty:

If your looking for protection and affirmation of your First Amendment rights the last place to look is a college campus. If you're looking for the biggest enemy of the First Amendment, look for a tenured professor in the humanities department.

She did not apologize for h... (Below threshold)

She did not apologize for her attempt to deny others' freedoms. Since that is her transgression, legally and morally, she hasn't apologized.

That she is sorry she got her students into trouble shows only that there is honor among vandals.

That she is sorry she brought NKU into disrepute shows only that she's worried about her pension.

She is Sorry, but an attribute of her persona cannot be equated with an apology.




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