Republican Party of Orange County Encourages Members to Attend Trustee Meeting

The Republican party of Orange County encouraged its members to attend the Wednesday, April 5th Board of Trustees meeting. There were many, “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) community members in the crowd.

They jeered and booed CFE President Rob Schneiderman when he said that the union “is against any form of discrimination” and wants to work towards making Orange Coast College the “best learning environment for students in Orange County, regardless of their beliefs.” Later in the public comments portion of the meeting (1 hour, 08 minutes and 16 seconds), Biology professor Jan Goerrissen read a statement from colleague Dr. Gregory Russell. Professor Goerrissen said, “Data tells us that global warming is, unequivocally happening and it is human caused and there is no controversy at all surrounding evolution.” For this seemingly innocuous statement, he was booed by the Republican Party members in the crowd.

A day after the Board of Trustee meeting, Senator Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) sponsored legislation (SB 677) which would allow students to video any class if they “suspect” a policy may be violated. This type of big brother approach to eliminating dissent is reminiscent of Chairman Mao Zedong’s Red Guard during the cultural revolution.

Link to Board of Trustee meeting video

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Joint Statement of Support

The Orange Coast College President, the Coast Federation of Educators President and the Orange Coast College Academic Senate President signed a joint letter supporting Olga Perez Stable Cox’s academic freedom and condemning breaking syllabus and board policies (secret videotaping):

The OCC Academic Senate, Coast Federation of Educators, and Administration stand united in our ardent commitment to academic freedom and freedom of expression. To that point, we strongly support the freedom of both students and faculty to engage in open discussion, where diverse opinions can be expressed in an ethical and civil manner respectful of the laws and regulations governing conduct in an academic institution.
Regarding the recent videos that have surfaced, we fully support each of our professor’s right to respectfully respond to student questions and to express views that may challenge student opinions, world view, or ideology.
We do not condone conduct, that violates the professor’s syllabi, the Coast Community College District Student Code of Conduct (BP/AP 5500), and the California Educational Code (78907). This incident has resulted in a barrage of threatening and uncivil attacks through social media, negative backlash for some of our students, The Coast Community College District, and of Orange Coast College.
Orange Coast College Administration, the Academic Senate of Orange Coast College, and the Coast Federation of Educators hope faculty and student come together to support an environment that heals and unifies our community.

Dennis R. Harkins, Ph.D.
Orange Coast College, President

Rob Schneiderman
Coast Federation of Educators, President
AFT 1911

Lee Gordon
Orange Coast College Academic Senate, President

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Faculty Support Professor Perez Stable Cox

Orange Coast College (OCC) faculty are supporting Professor Olga Cox in the face of intimidation by the OCC Republican Club.
Here is their statement:

We, the undersigned faculty, wish to express our concern about the violation of the Academic Freedom and privacy of Professor Olga Perez Stable Cox.

Academic freedom is sacred because all discourse is political, and a liberal arts education seeks to find how all of our disciplines are interrelated. LGBTQ issues and body politics have dominated coverage of the recent election, and both are topics that belong firmly in the Human Sexuality classroom. All of this, however, is immaterial–Professor Cox’s remarks require no justification. Our classrooms are safe spaces where both students and instructors can engage in civil debate, and the misuse of that debate outside of the class is a violation of trust between students and other students and between students and their instructor.

We call for Coast Community College District’s immediate and public dismissal of all accusations against Professor Cox and we implore administrators to stand boldly for academic freedom and the safety of our faculty. We must acknowledge that these are politically motivated attacks on our faculty that embolden those who seek to erode scholarly dialogue by demonizing those with differing viewpoints instead of engaging in an open dialogue. As we stand on the national stage, Orange Coast College must maintain its academic integrity, and it must remain emblematic of freedom and democracy; in order to do so, we stand behind our esteemed colleague.

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