OCC reminds students of recording ban amidst controversy
Orange Coast College is now strictly enforcing a formerly obscure policy banning classroom recordings after a professor was caught on camera calling Donald Trump’s election an “act of terrorism.”
As Campus Reform initially reported, professor Olga Perez Stable-Cox was recorded by a student in December lecturing her class about how Trump’s upset victory over Clinton was “an act of terrorism.”
“The [policies] have been in place for a while so they are not in response to any recent incident.”
The video quickly made national and even international headlines, attracting condemnations of the student from faculty members and prompting the school to launch an investigation to determine whether the student would face disciplinary sanctions.
The student, Caleb O’Neil, had initially remained anonymous for fear of retribution, but was eventually identified and has now been suspended for a full semester pending his completion of several sanctions, including an apology to the professor and a “three-page double spaced essay” on why he elected to film her.
O’Neil has secured legal representation, and is appealing the suspension.
As O’Neil’s ordeal was still unfolding, Campus Reform was alerted to signs that had appeared in classrooms all over campus referencing obscure district and state policies that ban visual and audio recordings in classrooms.
OCC, however, maintains that the timing is merely a coincidence, explicitly denying that the signs were posted in response to any specific incident.
“The District policy and the California Education code have been in place for a while so they are not in response to any recent incident,” Juan Gutierrez, director of marketing and public relations for OCC, told Campus Reform. “There is now signage in all classrooms that cite the policy and code referenced above and state that video/audio recording in class without the instructor¹s permission is prohibited.”
Despite the school’s claims, the OCC College Republicans have a different take on the new signs.
“Orange Coast College's policy of proactively preventing students from recording in the classroom is just another way the campus is trying to cure the symptom and not the disease,” Joshua Recalde-Martinez, former president of the school’s College Republicans chapter, told Campus Reform. “No action has been taken against Professor Cox, but every action has been taken to curb students exposing wrongdoing on the part of instructors in the classroom.”
Rather than banning the recording of questionable lectures, Recalde-Martinez suggests, the school should instead adopt a policy that requires professors to stick to lecturing only on what is laid out in the course curriculum.
“Orange Coast College needs to take action to prevent similar instances in the future,” he continued. “Perhaps the school would be better off putting signs up that say ‘Don't Teach Anything But the Course Curriculum.’ Signs like that would have the same effect as signs that prohibit recording because then perhaps there would be no anti-Trump tirades for students to record.”
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