Sanity in the World?

Into all lives, a little Sanity must fall.

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Thursday, April 20, 2006

NKU Professor Sally Jacobsen Update

It seems that NKU Professor Sally Jacobsen has been removed from her remaining classes and put on Administrative Leave. She is also set to retire by the end of the semester.

Statement by President James C. Votruba

Posted 04/18/2006
I am writing to comment on the recent destruction of an approved campus display created by the Northern Kentucky Right to Life student organization.

One of the important roles that a university must play is to be a forum for debate and analysis concerning the important issues of the day. Often these issues are surrounded by strident rhetoric and strong emotions, which makes it even more incumbent on the university to create and nurture an intellectual environment in which reason and evidence prevail and where all points of view can be heard.

Northern Kentucky University has a distinguished record of addressing important public issues in a balanced way. We are proud that, as a campus, we are not the captive of one ideology or point of view. At their best, universities are not places of comfortable conformity. They are places where ideas collide as students and faculty search for deeper understandings and perspectives.

While the University supports the right to free speech and vigorous debate on public issues, we cannot condone infringement of the rights of others to express themselves in an orderly manner. By leading her students in the destruction of an approved student organization display, Professor Sally Jacobsen’s actions were inconsistent with Northern Kentucky University’s commitment to free and open debate and the opportunity for all sides to be heard without threat of censorship or reprisal.

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?


Her NKU Webpage has been removed also: Link
This may be what happens when a professor is put on Administrative Leave, I do not know.

Sister Toldjah has an article on contact and Jacobsen's apology:

The Northern Kentucky University professor responsible for dismantling an anti-abortion display April 12 has stopped talking to the media and has been placed on administrative leave.

Dr. Sally Jacobsen returned The Northerner’s calls Tuesday evening and said she has been advised by her attorney not to grant any more interviews. She directed further inquiries to her attorney, Margo Grubbs of Grubbs Law Firm in Covington, Ky.

However, in an e-mail dated April 18, Jacobsen wrote to students whom she invited to join the demonstration. “I want to do everything I can to keep any of you from being specifically named,” she said. “And I am very sorry I got you involved in this.”


The Display has been restored and an apology has been issued from professor Jacobsen, though by the president of the University, there is still a full investigation to come and further action may be warranted.

The president of the University makes an excellent plea for understanding, and of calm debate when it comes to differing ideas and issues.

He agrees that what this professor did was severly wrong, but they took into consideration her 27 years of teaching at NKU, which I think is the only right thing to do. You do not judge a person solely on a bad choice, even if it was a severe as this one is. You take into account everything.

There will always be differing ideas and opinions in all that we think and feel, but we must learn to not act in the heat of the moment, nor let common sense be over run by your feelings.

I too am guilty of this, but for a good debate of ideas and opinions, we need to learn to do so without violence, or infringing on each others own rights of both privacy and freedom of speech.

See Sanity's Related Posts:
NKU Professor and Student Co-horts Charged (Newest)

Professor Equates Crosses to Nazi Displays

Others Blogging this issue:
Sister Toldjah, RightWinged, Leaning Straight Up