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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