Kentucky Students Have Subdued Abortion Debate After Vandalism

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

Kentucky Students Have Subdued Abortion Debate After Vandalism Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 16
, 2006

Highland Heights, KY ( — Students at Northern Kentucky University had their first subdued debate on the issue of abortion following a vandalism scandal that placed a spotlight on the university last school year. A pro-abortion professor eventually quit teaching there after she led a group of students in destroying a pro-life display.

Abortion advocates at the college organized a pro-abortion day on campus and set up information tables in the student center.

Meanwhile, pro-life advocates gathered outside and distributed cookies and pro-life information.

The calmness of the day sharply contrasted with the destruction of a display of crosses set up by the campus pro-life group to memorialize those babies who have died from abortions.

Following the vandalism abortion advocates organized Students for Choice, their own organization to advance the pro-abortion cause on campus.

Opinon about abortion on the college campus appears split with the pro-life group registering 237 people to receive bulletins from it online while 231 signed up for Students for Choice.

Fran Zaniello, a professor, told the Cincinnati Enquirer that the vandalism had the effect of organizing pro-abortion students and teachers.

"It had the effect of saying, ‘Wait a minute, people are talking about this. It’s time to come forward,’ " Zaniello said.

"I think it’s really great that we’re having an exchange of ideas, and people can come and hear both sides," said junior Katie Walker, president of Northern Right to Life, told the newspaper.

In September, three pro-abortion students who took part in the vandalism apologized. The students wrote letters to the editor in the student newspaper expressing their views. Though they say they are sorry for vandalizing the display, at least two of the students wrote that they still believe the cross memorial was inappropriate.

Six students joined Sally Jacobsen, a British literature professor in destroying the display. They trashed the crosses and ripped up a sign that accompanied them and their actions were caught on film by a reporter from the student newspaper.

The pro-abortion students were sentenced to perform community service in exchange for dropping charges against them. They were required to pay a $100 fine and issue the letters of apology.

Jacobsen was charged with theft, criminal mischief and criminal solicitation but those charges were dropped after a court demanded that she apologize. Beforehand, she defended her actions.

The court required Jacobsen to complete a mediation and she agreed to pay Northern Right to Life for the costs of the display. Jacobsen also made a $1,000 donation to the Madonna House, a Northern Kentucky crisis pregnancy shelter.

Jacobsen encouraged the students, members of one of her classes, to destroy the display and eventually led them in doing so. She later encouraged the students involved to avoid talking to the police and obtaining attorneys.

Jacobsen was suspended by Northern Kentucky University for the remainder of the school year and her classes given to other professors to complete. She has since retired and moved to Portland, Oregon.

The pro-abortion students who destroyed the pro-life display included: Michelle Cruey, 21, of Walton, KY.; Katie Nelson, 21, and Heather Nelson, 27, both of Dayton, Ky.; Stephanie Horton, 23, of Alexandria, Ky.; Sara Keebler, 25, of Cincinnati, Ohio and Laura Caster, 23, of Highland Heights, Ky.

Related web sites:
Northern Right to Life –