Posted on October 5, 2006

Conservative Recruiter Claims Professors Injured Her

Nathan Burchfiel,, October 4, 2006

A campus recruiter for a conservative student organization is asking for help in identifying two women — both claiming to be Arizona State University professors — who allegedly harassed and physically assaulted her.

Emily Mitchell, a field representative for the conservative Leadership Institute, was recruiting for a student group called the Caucasian American Men of ASU (CAMASU) on Sept. 29.

According to Mitchell, two women said they wanted to discuss her views, and as the conversation became more heated, they tried to grab Mitchell’s video camera. During the alleged altercation, Mitchell claims one of the women “dug her nails so hard into my hand that her fingernails broke the skin and drew blood.”

Video taken after the alleged incident shows the women declining to give their names but identifying themselves as professors in the school’s Herberger College of Fine Arts.

The university’s “Diversity and Free Speech” policies prohibit university employees or students from subjecting other people to harassment on university property.

The definition of harassment includes “touching a person in a manner that a reasonable person would view as hostile, offensive, or intimidating” and “taking some action that causes a person to reasonably fear imminent hostile, offensive, or intimidating physical contact.”

The video shows a heated exchange between Mitchell and the women, but Mitchell says they were at fault.

“They were the ones who initially approached me and began making discriminatory and hateful remarks,” she told Cybercast News Service. “They only reason I had the tone of voice in that video that I did is because I was trying to get them to repeat what they said.”

Mitchell said she went to Kwang-Wu Kim, dean of the College of Fine Arts, to complain about the incident but he said he did not recognize the women.

“I asked the dean himself, who was appalled and embarrassed, and said something would be done about it, but that he did not recognize the faculty because there are hundreds of faculty members in the College of Fine Arts,” Mitchell said.

She added that she has filed a police report and is trying to help the police identify the women by posting wanted-style posters across the campus asking for students’ help.

Stacey Shaw, a spokeswoman for the College of Fine Arts, declined to comment on the allegations, calling them “hearsay.” She did not say if the college was investigating the alleged incident or if it would punish professors who violate the harassment policy.

As for CAMASU, the group says it does not limit its membership to white males.

According to Mitchell, CAMASU’s mission statement is nearly identical to the mission statements of other campus groups such as the African American Student Association.

“The only difference between all of those — the mission statement, membership requirements, philosophy and objectives — are basically just rewording a little bit and changing African to Caucasian,” she said. “We just want equality.”