Orange Coast College faculty Friday called on administrators to pursue criminal charges against a student who recorded a video of a professor critical of President-elect Donald Trump that has gone viral online and has led to alleged death threats against the educator.OCC President Dennis Harkins held a private forum with educators Friday to discuss the video of Olga Perez Stable Cox, who said she has received death threats that are being investigated by Costa Mesa police.
Cox, an adviser to the college’s Pride Club, was “recorded illegally” by a student as she discussed in class concern about Trump’s policies, the faculty said.
A student posted the video on YouTube on Dec. 6 and on the Orange Coast College Republican Club’s Facebook page, according to the faculty.
They claimed the student is an “employee of and chapter president for Turning Point USA, which has created and supported the Professor Watchlist that intends to intimidate professors who do not preach conservative ideology in their classrooms.”
They also claimed that attorney Shawn Steel, husband to Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steel, is part of the effort to “further the political agenda of Turning Point USA.”
At the meeting with Harkins, some educators said OCC administrators should punish the student for violating the college’s policy and a state education code against using recording devices in classrooms without a professor’s permission.
“College is a place to grow and learn how to engage in a world that has diverse and challenging opinions,” said English professor Gary Hoffman. “As professors our job is to support students to think critically, be resilient, and learn how to form and articulate opinions. Unfortunately in this case instead the Orange Coast College Republican Club (hopefully not supported by their advisers) resorted to cyberbullying.”
Another professor, Patrick Kennedy, said the video “seems like a politically motivated effort supported by a national conservative group to intimidate and silence professors.”
Messages left with Michelle Steel’s chief of staff and media representative were not immediately returned. The college’s marketing department has not responded to multiple messages left for comment.
— City News Service
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