March 27 2017
Orange Coast College has given its top award for instructors this year to Olga Perez-Stable Cox, the professor caught on camera calling Donald Trump’s election “an act of terrorism” during her human sexuality course in December.
Faculty at the college vote to give the award each year, and the recipient normally gives a speech at commencement. But according to the Orange Coast Register, Cox has accepted the honor but declined to speak; a spokesman from the faculty union said she made the decision because “she did not want to distract from students.”
After the video went viral and was featured on Fox News, Orange Coast College took no action against Cox. But administrators soon moved to punish Caleb O’Neil, the 19-year-old student behind the recording. In February, the college suspended him through Fall 2017, saying he’d have to write an apology letter to Cox if he wanted to return. O’Neil and his lawyer appealed, threatening a lawsuit, and trustees reversed their decision a week later.
Over the weekend, the Orange County College Republicans said they were disappointed that faculty had given Cox the top honor, saying her comments were polarizing. “This move on her part and the part of the college only serves to resurrect past tensions against both her and the College Republicans,” the group’s president told the Orange Coast Register.
This semester, Orange Coast College has sought to prevent other such recordings. Administrators posted warning signs on campus, saying that unauthorized in-class recordings were prohibited by college policy and state law. The president of the professor’s union also warned that O’Neil “may be facing legal action,” calling his recording of Cox “Gestapo tactics.”
— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.