Students, faculty demand OCC get Republicans 'out of our face'
Students and faculty stormed the Orange Coast College administration building Monday to protest the release of public records and demand that the administration end its “neutrality” on political issues by removing the College Republicans.
The protest formed in opposition to the OCC College Republicans chapter, which released emails obtained from a public records request showing Professor Jessica Alabi telling OCC President Harkins that she would “stand up” to the club if he did not. The documents also revealed that Alabi later prevented several Republican club members from attending one of her events on campus because they were deemed a threat to the students’ “safe space.”
“Get that club out of our face!”
The CRs have demanded an investigation into Alabi’s behavior, which fits into a wider pattern of faculty hostility toward the club ever since it made national news by released a recording of one professor’s classroom rant calling Donald Trump’s election “an act of terrorism.”
The ensuing firestorm of negative publicity divided the campus, with faculty members issuing a statement calling the audio’s release a “politically motivated act” and then subsequently honoring the professor, Olga Stable-Cox, as “Faculty Member of the Year” in an apparent snub of the CR chapter.
The student who recorded the lecture, Caleb O’Neil, was even temporarily suspended for violating an obscure, rarely-enforced policy prohibiting students from recording their professors in class without prior approval.
Students, faculty, and union leaders rallied on campus to echo Alibi’s hostility toward the CRs, chanting, "No Hate, No KKK, No Fascist USA"—a common phrase among left-wing protest organizations—and demanding that administrators to “get that club out of our face.”
Several students were seen holding socialist flags or memorabilia, while many others bore signs that insulted the College Republicans.
Joshua Recalde-Martinez, former President of the OCC CRs, told Campus Reform that he couldn’t understand the protesters’ motivations, pointing out that all the club had done was expose the truth about the hostility of some faculty members toward conservative students.
“It makes no sense to me why the union and a vocal minority of students would protest against the OCC Republicans for simply asking for an investigation into the matter and protections for student from being discriminated against on the basis of their political affiliation,” he remarked.
“The OCC Republicans provided reasonable demands to OCC,” Recalde-Martinez continued, noting that Alabi had made unfounded accusations to justify barring the club’s president and other board members from her event.
“As for the false claims of harassing students due to their race, gender, and/or sexual identity, all club members attempting to attend the event that were barred come from a minority background, with one who is also gay,” Recalde-Martinez pointed out. “To state such bigoted and intolerant remarks against such a diverse group of students is not only wrong, it's near slanderous of their good character.”
UPDATE: A spokesperson for Orange Coast College provided the following statement to Campus Reform:
"The College was told that the demonstration that occurred on May 22 was in response to an incident that occurred in March where students were asked to leave a support group meeting.
The meeting in question was an invitation only event for female African-American and mixed race students. “Curl Talk” is a support group geared towards African-American and inter-racial women to openly discuss their choice to wear their hair natural, support one another in their quest for chemical-free hair, address challenges in hair care, maintenance, and the politics of having natural hair.
Like other support groups, we would hope people would respect the privacy of expected participants of such a gathering.
OCC strives to be all-inclusive institution where individuals and groups with differing ideas and opinions can come together in a civil manner. We take all complaints from students, faculty, staff and the community very seriously and we work through our established policies and procedures to come to a resolution."
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