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Not All University Presidents are Craven Weenies

even if it sometimes seems that way. Cheers to Northern Kentucky University president Jim Votruba:

A Northern Kentucky University literature professor could be disciplined for her role in the removal of nearly 400 crosses that were erected on campus as part of a school-sanctioned display by a right to life group.

Tenured professor Sally Jacobsen, who has been teaching at NKU since 1980, said she found the display offensive and asked students in her British literature class Wednesday night if they wanted to take down the crosses.

During a break in class, Jacobsen said she asked "if any students wanted to participate in practicing their freedom of speech in destroying the very offensive right to life, anti-abortion display in the central plaza."

"Some did," she said.

Votruba said he would prefer Jacobsen and others who found the display offensive erect their own display.

"That's a civilized way to let ideas play off each other," he said....

In an e-mail sent to campus officials earlier this week and obtained by The Kentucky Post, Jacobsen demanded the display be removed immediately. She wrote that the crosses violated the separation of church and state because NKU is a state institution.

Votruba disagreed.

"If people are occasionally offended by points of view on a campus, that's what a university is all about," he said.

Votruba said he welcomes lively debate on such a hot-button issue on campus.

"We're a place where ideas get vetted," he said.

UPDATE: This news story, and accompanying photos, suggest that Jacobsen not only encouraged students to vandalize other students' display, she participated in the vandalism. The student "right to life" group is pressing charges, and I hope they throw the book at those responsible.

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