Orange Coast College students and faculty stormed the administration building Monday to protest its “neutrality” on political issues which allowed the College Republicans (CRs) to release public records damaging to campus Liberals.
The records released by the College Republicans originated from a public records request filed in March by Joshua Recalde-Martinez, former President of the OCC CRs, which exposed hostility toward conservative students.
Monday’s protest assembled to oppose OCC’s College Republicans chapter which released letters revealing Professor Jessica Alabi told OCC President Harkins that she would “stand up” to the Republicans club if he did not. The records also exposed Alabi prevented several Republican club members from attending one of her events on campus in March because they were deemed a threat to the students’ “safe space.”
Alabi, a black professor, had scheduled a “Curl Talk” roundtable for Black History Month in February which was later pushed to Women’s History Month in March. Five College Republicans were barred from the event.
Student, faculty and union member protesters demanded administrators “get that club out of our face” and chanted, “No Hate, No KKK, No Fascist U.S.A.” Students were seen holding socialist flags and signs insulting the College Republicans.
Recalde-Martinez responded to the protest by saying, “I’m glad to see so many people exercising their freedom of speech even if some may disagree.” But, at the same time, he told Bogus Times, “I’m saddened to see those who disagreed with us being used and organized by the faculty union and professor.”
The CRs are doubling down on their efforts to expose the bias by demanding an investigation into Alabi’s behavior, which fits a larger, campus-wide problem of staff’s hostility toward the College Republicans.
In a press release distributed Wednesday by the CRs, they called for Alabi’s suspension and a one-page apology letter to the club. They also requested that OCC take measures to start or improve training for faculty and staff on how to respect students’ rights and viewpoints.
“We must protect all students from discrimination on the basis of political affiliation and ensure a safe campus environment for all students,” Recalde-Martinez stressed.
Recalde-Martinez told the campus newspaper, “At a maximum, if it is shown that she is someone who has an inability to remove her inherent biases when conducting herself on campus, I would say that I would want professor Alabi to be fired.”
Some OCC staff members are standing behind Alabi, saying, “It was an invitation only event for Curl Talk” which is “a sensitive topic.”
OCC President Harkins, however, told the Coast Report that the situation must be examined further because OCC is a public institution, and that all events and meetings are public, but that Curl Talk was a private event.
The divide between OCC and the CRs began after Trump’s election when Conservative student Caleb O’Neil recorded and made public a lecture by Professor Olga Perez Stable-Cox who went off the rails on Donald Trump, calling his election “an act of terrorism.”
O’Neil was targeted by the faculty for releasing the scathing recording, stating it was a “politically motivated act” and he was temporarily ordered suspended for violating an abstruse and nonsensical policy prohibiting students from recording professors without prior approval. Students record lectures as a matter of course, which makes his suspension all the more suspect of being driven by pure retaliation. The faculty went on to honor Perez Stable-Cox after the recording of her lecture was released, naming her “Faculty Member of the Year.”
This act inspired state Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) to introduce legislation that would have protected student whistleblowers who record instructors they suspect are violating laws or regulations without fear of retaliation.
“If an instructor stays within the bounds, there should be no concerns,” he wrote in an e-mail to the O.C. Register.
Moorlach and a fellow Republican from San Diego supported the bill, while a Santa Barbara Democrat cast the lone dissenting vote. The four senators remaining abstained, killing the bill.