After Trump video flap, OCC signs warn students against recording classes without permission
Almost two months after a secretly recorded video of an Orange Coast College professor’s post-election comments about President Trump touched off a nationwide firestorm, signs reminding students that in-class recordings are prohibited without instructors’ permission have been posted in Orange Coast classrooms for the spring semester, which started last week.
The signs read: “Video and/or audio recording without instructor permission is prohibited.”
At the bottom, the signs cite the Coast Community College District’s Student Code of Conduct and the California Education Code, which prohibit recordings without permission.
“That’s always been a policy and I believe that the administration just wants students to know what the policy is,” said Rob Schneiderman, president of the Coast Federation of Educators, a union that represents instructors in the district. “The union did not ask for the signs. ...
“We’re not just concerned about faculty members having words taken out context, but we’re also concerned for students who may not want their image, words or questions to be published and widely distributed.”
But Joshua Recalde-Martinez, president emeritus of the Orange Coast College Republicans club, which posted the video on its Facebook page in December, said he considers the signs to be “a slap in the face of students.”
“One of the things it’s doing is suppressing students from reporting faculty wrongdoing,” he said. “Another is producing a huge inconvenience to those who otherwise regularly record classes.”
Professor Olga Perez Stable Cox was secretly recorded in her human-sexuality class by an unidentified student days after the Nov. 8 election. In the video, Cox apparently refers to Trump as a “white supremacist” and to Vice President Mike Pence as “one of the most anti-gay humans in this country.”
The two-minute video also shows Cox saying: “We are in for a difficult time. ... Our nation is divided; we have been assaulted, it’s an act of terrorism.”
She noted that Trump’s opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton, won the popular vote, though Trump, a Republican, won the electoral vote.
“More of us voted to not have that kind of leadership,” she said. “We didn’t win because of the way our electoral college is set up, but we are the majority, and that’s helping me to feel better.”
The student shared the recording with the Orange Coast College Republicans, according to Recalde-Martinez.
Before the club posted the video, Seal Beach attorney Shawn Steel filed a complaint with Orange Coast College President Dennis Harkins on behalf of the group, saying Cox had “wrongfully assumed all students were disappointed with the loss of Hillary Clinton.”
Harkins said in December that the district’s legal counsel sent a response to Steel saying the student services and instructional wings at OCC had a review in progress to determine whether Cox’s comments were in response to a student’s question or were related to class curriculum.
Steel told the Daily Pilot on Tuesday that he has not received an update on the investigation.
According to Recalde-Martinez, administrators from student services met with him and two other club members Tuesday so the club members could provide information regarding the case.
“What we’re really concerned about is what the final decision is going to be with the [unidentified] student,” Recalde-Martinez said. “We’ll just have to wait, and hopefully they make a right decision.”
Calls to Harkins’ office were not immediately returned Tuesday.
“The investigation is still ongoing,” Juan Gutierrez, director of marketing and public relations at OCC, said Wednesday. “We’re trying to be thorough and respectful of everyone’s privacy through the procedure and policies we must follow.”