Supporters of Mireille Miller-Young cite the “cultural legacy of slavery” and even the effects of pregnancy to explain why the feminist studies professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara would accost a teenager spreading a pro-life message on campus.
The pregnant 38-year-old who pleaded no contest to misdemeanor counts of theft, vandalism and battery after stealing and destroying an anti-abortion poster and injuring a 16-year-old activist, says she’s sorry for some of her actions and hopes to “makes amends through community service.”
An associate professor whose course work, which includes pornography and sex work, has gained her the nickname the “porn professor,” Ms. Miller-Young was set to appear for sentencing today (August 14) before Judge Brian Hill in Santa Barbara County Superior Court.
But the hearing got moved to another courtroom before being rescheduled, perhaps Friday.
The News-Press obtained Ms. Miller-Young’s apology letter, which was part of a package of letters of support prepared by defense attorney Catherine Swysen, aimed at getting the lightest possible sentence for her client.
She told UCSB Police that she was pregnant at the time and was “triggered” by the graphic images of abortion on the poster.
After initially pleading not guilty, she changed her mind and in July entered pleas of no contest.
Support letters submitted by defense attorney Catherine Swysen and obtained by the News-Press laud the respect and admiration Ms. Miller-Young has among her peers as well as her generosity when it comes to students.
Some of the letters were written on UCSB letterhead, presumably on university equipment and university time. Among them is one from history professor Paul Spikard, who states that his colleague is the object of “an energetic smear campaign that seems to have little to do with her person or her actions, and a great deal to do with fomenting racial hatred and rallying right-wing political sentiment.”
“It would be tragic if Dr. Miller-Young were sentenced to jail time or mandatory anger management classes based on the press’ portrayal of her as an Angry Black Woman.”
Another letter of support, also on UCSB letterhead, comes from Eileen Boris, a professor in the Department of Feminist Studies.
Prof. Boris seeks clemency for her colleague, stating, “she was at the stage of a pregnancy when one is not fully one’s self fully, so the image of a severed fetus appeared threatening.”
“If she appears smiling on camera,” Prof. Boris continues, “she is ‘wearing the mask,’ that is, she is hiding her actual state through a strategy of self-presentation that is a cultural legacy of slavery.”