Days after a California community college professor was caught on camera calling Donald Trump’s presidential win an “act of terrorism” and calling his vice president Mike Pence “one of the most anti-gay humans in this country” among other inflammatory comments in middle of class, she fled the state, saying she received multiple death threats and angry letters.
“This has nothing to do with free speech. It’s a professor overstepping her profession,” Vincent Wetzel, a gay student who attended Olga Perez Stable Cox’s LGBT panels, said. “Of all the people who are supposed to provide an inclusive environment, it’s her. Now, I don’t feel comfortable.”
In total, over 1,000 angry emails, calls, and social media comments were received by Cox, Orange Coast College (OCC), and her union, according to the OC Register. In the midst of the heated controversy, Professor Olga Perez Stable Cox’s supporters have also come out to defend her.
“I want to let Olga know this is her home,” Elias Altamirano, an OCC student who helped organize a rally Monday in support of her, said. “She doesn’t have to feel threatened.”
But Cox was doing more than just telling students in her human sexuality class that “we’re really back to being at civil war,” her students are saying. Two students, Tanner Webb and Noah Faerber, said she was asking students who had voted for Trump to stand up and identify themselves in class.
Webb said he enjoyed Cox’s class and had first kept quiet to protect his grades but felt he should speak up after he saw her union’s comments against the student who videotaped her rant; the union stated, "This is an illegal action without the permission of the instructor. The student will be identified and may be facing legal action."
“She tried to get everyone who voted for Donald Trump to stand up and show the rest of the class who to watch out for and protect yourself from,” Webb told KCBS News. “Professor Cox’s anti-Trump rant was no open debate to engage students.”
The students said they did not want the student who videotaped Cox to feel like the only one who thought what Cox was doing was wrong. Faerber confirmed Webb’s account of what happened.
But Rob Schneiderman, president of Cox’s teachers’ union, said the student who was videotaping Cox was acting unethically because it made her look worse than she actually is. He added Cox had simply told students that “some” people are happy with the election results, and after one student stood up in approval, she “invited” others to also stand up if they agreed.
Meanwhile, a second video from Cox’s class surfaced with more of her political views, including her statements that Orange County is “one of the most conservative counties in the nation” and that living there is “scary when you know you are surrounded by so many people that are so hateful.”
Cox encouraged her students to report to her or other OCC faculty members if they heard “anyone in the class” say things that were “racist, or in any way prejudiced, or treating you in an unfair way.”
Apparently her students are doing just that.
Follow Pardes Seleh on Twitter.