An Orange Coast College professor and a student are both facing scrutiny after a video of remarks the teacher made in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidential victory surfaced in the past week on the Internet.
In the recording, made days after the Nov. 8 election, professor Olga Perez Stable Cox describes to her human-sexuality class an America where societal rifts run as deep as they did during the Civil War, with one side accosting the other.
“Our nation is divided,” she said. “We have been assaulted. It is an act of terrorism.”
The student who recorded the video has remained anonymous, but it was made public by the Costa Mesa campus’s College Republicans club. The group’s president, Joshua Recalde-Martinez, said Cox was criminalizing those in favor of the president-elect.
“She’s calling those people in that room who supported and voted for him terrorists,” he said.
Martinez also objected to Cox’s wording, which he found exclusionary and dismissive of other viewpoints.
In the video, Cox says: “First of all, we are the majority. More of us voted to not have that kind of leadership. 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.”
In a Facebook post, Coast Federation of Educators, AFT Local 1911, the union that represents Cox, said she is one of the most popular professors on campus and that encouraging robust discussion on provocative issues is one of her hallmarks.
“Unfortunately, rather than take the opportunity to openly discuss the issues that Professor Cox raised in her lecture, a student chose to secretly videotape the comments they disagreed with and publish them on the Internet,” a union statement read.
An article by CampusReform.org – which says it “exposes bias and abuse on the nation’s college campuses” – posted an official complaint that Shawn Steel, a Republican national committeeman and legal counsel for Orange Coast College Republicans, filed Nov. 30 to college President Dennis Harkins “over the actions, hate speech and bullying tactics of Olga Perez Stable Cox.”
On the website RateMyProfessors.com, which enables college students to review and rank their teachers, Cox notched a 4.6 out 5 and is the highest-rated professor on campus. She has been teaching at OCC for 30 years, according to the school’s website.
The union statement also indicated the recording may violate campus policy. Most colleges have strict rules regarding lecture recordings since the material can be considered the intellectual property of the school or professor.
Martinez, however, said he will fight to ensure the content remains online.
“That video is going to stay and we’re going to make sure as many people are informed about it as possible,” he said.
Montoya and Martin write for KTLA. Daily Pilot staff contributed to this report.