Scripps Professor Involved in Altercation With Protester

On Sept. 19, Scripps College student groups Scripps for Black Lives Matter, Watu Weusi, and the Asian American Student Union released an open letter to Scripps President Lara Tiedens and Dean of Faculty Amy Marcus-Newhall. In the letter, the students demanded the college release a public statement regarding an August 30 altercation between Assistant Professor of Media Studies Jane Mi and a lone protester outside Mi’s South Pasadena home. The student groups asked for “the College’s plans to redress the situation by the end of September 2020” and asked that Scripps “work with the Faculty Governance Board to create a set of guidelines applicable for Scripps faculty who engage in such behavior outside of the classroom.”

Despite the claims of Scripps for Black Lives Matter that the protester in question was affiliated with Black Lives Matter, no other sources corroborated this information. The police report clarified that the protester “was not part of the ‘Vanessa Marquez 2nd Anniversary & Community March’ occurring concurrently in a different area of the city.” The “Vanessa Marquez 2nd Anniversary & Community March” is an annual march commemorating the death of actress Vanessa Marquez at the hands of police officers in her South Pasadena home. 

The incident in question was covered by the South Pasadenan on August 31. According to the report, “[o]n Sunday, August 30, 2020 at approximately 12:00 p.m., Michael Plough, 41, a resident of South Pasadena called the police department to complain about a lone protester in the 1100 block of El Centro Street disturbing the peace by playing loud music. Less than four minutes later, Plough and his wife, Jane Mi, 42, (who was holding their juvenile child at the time), confronted the protester. According to the victim, Mi attempted to steal the protester’s laptop from him. Plough then attacked the protester, believing the protester hit their child.”

Several witnesses “provided video showing that the protester did not fight back, and that Plough and Mi were the dominant aggressors in the incident. Plough was taken into custody for battery and later booked at the Alhambra Police Department, and later released on a citation with a future court date. Mi was released at the scene due to a lack of an alternate caregiver for their child. The case will be referred to the Alhambra Office of the District Attorney for consideration of charges against Mi of attempt[ed] grand theft person and vandalism.”

The student statement concluded by saying that, “[w]hile many of the details are murky at the moment, Mi’s reported behavior is neither representative of nor acceptable to the Scripps community, especially at this time of heightened awareness of violence against the Black community. This is not another incident for the administration to be silent on.”

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