COSTA MESA ( — An Orange Coast College freshman suspended for videotaping an instructor making critical comments about President Donald Trump shortly after his election said Wednesday he will appeal the punishment and plans to file a lawsuit if his appeal is rejected.

Caleb O’Neil, 19, was suspended for a semester and a summer term and was told he must apologize to the instructor and write an essay “explaining why he shot the video,” his attorney, Bill Becker, said.

“We think this is a clear example of unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination that targets conservatives and we’re going to challenge it,” Becker said.

O’Neil will first go through the appeals process at the college, which will result in a hearing, Becker said. If the sanctions are upheld, O’Neil will sue in federal court, Becker said.

The college has 10 to 30 days to decide whether to accept or deny the appeal, Becker said.

In December, the college’s faculty called on administrators to pursue criminal charges against O’Neil for videotaping professor Olga Perez Stable Cox’s comments criticizing Trump.

The video was posted on YouTube on Dec. 6 and on the college Republican Club’s Facebook page, according to the faculty.

“College is a place to grow and learn how to engage in a world that has diverse and challenging opinions,” said English professor Gary Hoffman. “As professors our job is to support students to think critically, be resilient, and learn how to form and articulate opinions. Unfortunately in this case instead the Orange Coast College Republican Club — hopefully not supported by their advisers — resorted to cyberbullying.”

Another professor, Patrick Kennedy, said the video “seems like a politically motivated effort supported by a national conservative group to intimidate and silence professors.”

Cox reportedly received death threats after the video was posted. The 68-year-old instructor, a gay Latina, told the Orange County Register last month she made comments about Trump in all three of her human-sexuality classes in an effort to comfort students upset over his election and to discuss access to resources for those who feel discriminated against.

On the videotape, she is heard calling Trump’s election an “act of terrorism.”

College officials said earlier they were looking into the propriety of Cox’s comments, but it’s unclear if that examination had been completed or if any action was taken against her.

Fred Whitaker, chairman of the Republican Party of Orange County, denounced O’Neil’s suspension.

“This abhorrent decision from the Orange Coast College administration clearly affirms their disdain for one of our nation’s most cherished freedoms: freedom of speech,” Whitaker said. “The Republican Party of Orange County categorically opposes this administration’s attempt to trample over its students’ civil rights and we will be doing everything in our power to support Caleb O’Neil in his effort to appeal the decision.”

(©2017 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

Comments (15)
  1. Ide Clair says:

    If she had called Obama a terrorist, SHE’S the one who would have been suspended.
    Since when is it acceptable for a teacher to instruct her class that our sitting president is a
    terrorist ?
    This is a shameful example of fascist indoctrination, and this behavior will drive voters to vote republican in future elections.
    Keep up the GOOD work.

    1. On second thought, what Cox did was worse than indoctrination. She was intentionally trying to create a hostile environment for anyone who voted for Trump. She specifically singled them out (“they are among us”) and associated them with terrorism.

    2. We have a right to hear what is happening in our local junior colleges. As a student I always recorded lectures. This teacher is guilty and should be suspended,

  2. OMG, anyone who is taking a Human Sexuality course at OCC and didn’t choose Mona Coates class should be suspended on that decision alone 😛

  3. Ide Clair, you are right. Moreover, it appears OCC is a publicly funded organization, so everything that is said in the classrooms should be a matter of public record. The professors should be held accountable for everything they say in the course of ‘education’ and the public has a right to know what is being taught and who is benefiting from their tax dollars. Liberal sicko professors and all others should not have a ‘sanctuary’ from which to attempt brainwashing on the young students

  4. Jay Stern says:

    So California is threatening to succeed from the union? Go ahead. Please! The United States is hemorrhaging money by supporting its version of Greece. If you are going to take a stand, it better be for the right reasons. I hope this is worth it; for both sides.

  5. So, you want to go to college in (or near) the City of Angels. We can’t blame you, Hollywood. Check out this great college in Los Angeles! La ORT College –

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

More From CBS Los Angeles

Weather Team
Goldstein Tipline

Watch & Listen LIVE