Professor who made anti-Trump comments will accept OCC Faculty of the Year award
The Orange Coast College professor who called now-President Trump’s election victory “an act of terrorism” in a video recorded by a student during class last fall will accept OCC’s Faculty of the Year award, the Costa Mesa college said Friday.
Earlier this week, Doug Bennett, executive director of the Orange Coast College Foundation, issued incorrect information that Olga Perez Stable Cox had declined to accept the award and did not want to participate in related activities.
But on Friday, Bennett said Cox will accept the honor and that he had personally confirmed it with her.
Cox could not immediately be reached for comment.
Bennett said the earlier error was a result of trying to address news media inquiries in “the heat of the moment.”
“Frankly, it all came from incorrect comments on Facebook, and before we wrapped up all the details in an announcement, we tried responding to those questions based on what I thought was true,” Bennett said.
Bennett said Cox, a human-sexuality professor, was notified of the award last week. But before the college could make a formal announcement, students heard rumors about her nomination and began sharing information on Facebook, Bennett said.
Asked whether he spoke directly with the college’s Professional Development Committee, which chooses the winner of the award, Bennett said only that he spoke to an OCC administrator who gave him the incorrect information.
The Professional Development Committee consists of faculty members, classified staff and past recipients of the award.
Cox, who has taught at OCC for more than 30 years, drew national media attention after a student secretly video-recorded her during class in November calling Trump a “white supremacist” and his election victory “an act of terrorism.”
The video went viral and sparked a nationwide debate between those who said Cox had the academic freedom to express her views in a private setting and those who argued that her statements went too far.
The annual Faculty of the Year award is typically received during a public ceremony. The date of this year’s ceremony still needs to be determined, Bennett said.
The winner also typically addresses the college’s graduating class during commencement.
Any student or faculty member can recommend a member of the faculty for the honor. The committee then gives nominees credit for their involvement on campus and evaluates their methods of teaching.