Professor Olga Cox, who teaches Human Sexuality at Orange Coast College, told her class in December that the election of Donald Trump was an “act of terrorism.” Despite this, Cox was recently nominated and selected by her fellow faculty members for the “Professor of the Year” award.
According to students, it is an Orange Coast College tradition for the recipient of the annual “Professor of the Year” award to be the keynote speaker at the school’s graduation ceremony each year.
“It’s an act of terrorism,” Professor Cox said to her class in December regarding President Trump’s election. “One of the most frightening things for me, and most people in my life,” she continued, “is that the people committing the assault are among us. It is not some stranger from some other country coming in and attacking our sense of what it means to be an American and the things that we stands for. And that makes it more painful.”
Her comments were videotaped by OCC student Caleb O’Neil, who was suspended by the school for allegedly unlawfully recording the indignant professor until the school retracted its punishment in the face of backlash.
The selection for the “Professor of the Year” award is made by a committee that consists of faculty, staff, and administrators, and is based on a rubric that takes into account multiple factors including teaching, service to the campus, and community involvement. Despite the nationwide negative attention and condemnation from the community in the wake of these incidents, this committee recommended Professor Cox as their choice to receive “Professor of the Year” and the OCC administration accepted the committee’s nomination.
In a Facebook post, the Orange Coast College Republicans called this decision by faculty members to choose Cox for the award, “a disgusting act of aggression and disrespect towards the Orange County community and the thousands of taxpayers that wanted justice to be served to Cox.” An update to this post stated that despite winning the nomination for the award, Professor Cox had turned it down.
Doug Bennett, the Executive Director of College Advancement for OCC, confirmed to Red Alert Politics in an email that Professor Cox had won the nomination for Professor of the Year award but declined to accept it. “A member of the campus community nominated Professor Cox for the award, the committee selected her through the rubric, but the award isn’t being made because she has declined,” says Bennett.
Vice President of the OCC College Republicans, Philippe Noel, says that the selection of Olga Cox by other faculty members for this award is an affront to the dignity of conservative students. “This is a clear reflection of the ongoing ideological discrimination on campus. This decision was made not only to spite conservative students, but to intimidate them, as well. This decision speaks for itself, as it sends a message to the community that students are not a priority to the faculty,” says Noel. “Given the increasing hostility towards conservative students on campus, we are reconsidering our willingness to negotiate our differences with the 3rd party mediators hired by the administration to resolve the differences between OCC College Republicans, the administration, and other student organizations.”
OCC College Republicans Treasurer, Joshua Recalde-Martinez, claims that Professor Cox turned down the award after facing pressure from the appearance of graffiti targeting him and his club appeared on campus. “I think due to last Saturday’s incident with the graffiti on campus Olga understood the impact that accepting the nomination could have on the climate on campus and that is why she refused,” says Recalde-Martinez. Threats graffitied on campus buildings included calls to “doxx” the young conservative and to “kill [the] Alt Right.”
Red Alert Politics reached out to Professor Cox, but did not receive a response in time for publication.