Remember Sally Jacobsen?
As previously flagged by FIRE, Jacobsen is the recently retired Northern Kentucky University professor facing theft and criminal mischief charges for allegedly dismantling a campus anti-abortion display. Yesterday, as reported in the Cincinnati Post, a judge offered Jacobsen the opportunity to have her charges dismissed if she completes mediation with representatives from NKU, its student government, and the school’s Right to Life chapter.
Jacobsen’s comments to the Post speak volumes to how she got herself into so much trouble. But her comments also demonstrate a faulty and dangerous mindset pervading all too many students, faculty, and administrators on university campuses. While expressing that she was “very sorry I did what I did,” Jacobsen also tellingly remarked, “I never intended to deprive anybody of their freedom of speech. The display was not in the free speech area of the university….”
The “free speech area of the university”? And here I thought the entire academy was supposed to be a “free speech area.” Sadly, we have seen the “free speech zone” mentality result in the actual quarantining of free speech to small or out of the way zones. Most recently, FIRE’s case at University of Nevada at Reno has highlighted the perils of such a limited and qualified idea of freedom.