University Prepares Response to Abortion Display Vandalism, Prof to Retire

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 16, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

University Prepares Response to Abortion Display Vandalism, Prof to Retire Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 16, 2006

Highland Heights, KY ( — Officials at Northern Kentucky University are preparing an official statement to faculty and students at the college in response to a professor and her students vandalizing a pro-life display meant to oppose abortion. Meanwhile the professor involved is slated to retire in a few weeks.

Last week, NKU British literature professor Sally Jacobsen and several of her students destroyed a display of hundreds of crosses pro-life students have put up in the grass outside the student center to talk about the 47 million unborn babies who have been killed via abortion.

Campus police are investigating the vandalism and criminal charges and university sanctions could result.

Chris Cole, a spokesman for NKU president James Votruba has said more than 100 emails have been received from faculty and staff concerned about the implications of the vandalism and denying the free speech rights of the campus Right to Life group.

"The tenor has been, ‘We don’t approve of or condone this.’ They don’t want that conduct to reflect on NKU faculty," Cole told the Cincinnati Enquirer newspaper.

He indicated that the university will definitely take action against Jacobson and the students involved once the police investigation has concluded.

"I think it will be telling our campus community that NKU doesn’t condone what took place Wednesday night, and there is an investigation going on, and action will be taken," he told the Cincinnati paper.

Jacobson has admitted encouraging students in her class to engage in the vandalism but would not comment to the media about whether she was involved. However, a reporter from the student newspaper caught the professor on camera ripping up a sign set up next to the crosses.

The Enquirer reports that Jacobson is set to retire in a few weeks but did not elaborate as to whether the retirement was planned or is a result of her involvement in the vandalism.

"I did, outside of class during the break, invite students to express their freedom of speech rights to destroy the display if they wished to," Jacobsen said last week after the incident.

Responding to her comments, Votruba, the NKU president, said, "I don’t know if she was pulling up the crosses, but I think she was out there with the students. If so, as far as I’m concerned, she went outside the conditions of her employment."

Jacobson told the Enquirer she was upset by the pro-life display which she labeled a "slap in the face" to women who might be considering "the agonizing and very private decision to have an abortion."

The professor claimed it wasn’t clear who put up the cross display, but members of Northern Right to Life, the campus pro-life group, received permission from the school to use the lawn outside the campus center for it.

After Dr. Jacobson and NKU students destroyed the display, members of the group decided put new crosses up in their place and camp out overnight on Thursday to make sure they weren’t vandalized again.

The student group also told The Northerner student newspaper it plans to press charges with local police.

"We called the police and told them that we decided to press charges," Julie Broering, treasurer for the group, said. The decision came after members of the pro-life club held a day-long meeting and vote.

David Tobergte, an administrative sergeant with the University Police said those involved could face felony theft charges and any students could also face university sanctions regarding the incident.

Related web sites:
Northern Kentucky University –

PHOTO NOTES: (1) Dr. Sally Jacobson tears down the main "Cemetery of Innocents" sign displayed by the campus pro-life group. (2) Pro-abortion students remove crosses from the display. Photos copyright 2006 The Northerner newspaper.