California Community College suspends student who recorded professor's anti-Trump rant

A student at an Orange County, California community college has been suspended after he recorded one of his professors telling her class the election of Donald Trump was an “act of terrorism.” From the LA Times:

In a Feb. 9 letter, Victoria Lugo, interim dean of students at the Costa Mesa college, informed Caleb O’Neil of the suspension for one “primary (fall/spring) semester in addition to the summer” and other disciplinary actions against him, including that he submit a written apology to the professor, Olga Perez Stable Cox, and a three-page essay asking him to examine why he filmed Cox’s class, how he feels about his footage going viral online and his reaction to its causing “damage to Orange Coast College students, faculty and staff.”

O’Neil, who campaigned for Trump, says he felt targeted by the speech because people in class had seen him wearing Trump campaign gear. After listening for a few moments, he pulled out his phone and recorded the professor’s statement, which he says went on for nearly 20 minutes. O’Neill gave the video to the college Republican club. The president of the club posted a portion of it online and it quickly went viral. The original clip has been viewed over 400,000 times.

O’Neill held a press conference at the school Wednesday afternoon. The LA Times reports:

O’Neil, often speaking to the crowd with his head lowered, called Cox “a good teacher” but said she “directly attacked” conservative students like him.

“I was scared I’d have repercussions on my grades because she knew I was a Trump supporter,” said O’Neil, who later added that he received an “A” in the class.

It’s good there was no change in O’Neill’s grade, but obviously the suspension is a more significant repercussion. O’Neill is now being represented by William Becker, an attorney with Freedom X, a group that defends conservatives in freedom of expression cases. Becker told the Orange County Register, “This is an attack by leftists in academia to protect the expressive rights of their radical instructors at the expense of the expressive rights of conservative students on campus.”

In the original clip, professor Cox says, “Our nation is divided. We have been assaulted. It’s an act of terrorism.” “We are way beyond Republicans and Democrats, and we’re really back to being a civil war—and I don’t mean it in a fighting way, but our nation is divided as clearly as it was in Civil War times,” Cox says. Cox reportedly moved out of state at the end of the previous semester but returned for the new semester. It remains unclear whether she will face any disciplinary action.

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John Sexton 10:00 PM on June 02, 2023