A California college has lifted the suspension of a student who took video of a human sexuality instructor saying that Republican President Donald Trump’s election was an “act of terrorism."
The Coast Community College District Board of Trustees agreed Thursday “to bring closure” to the case surrounding freshman Caleb O'Neil who recorded Olga Perez Stable Cox's anti-Trump rant during a class at Orange Coast College last fall, the Orange County Register reported.
"It is time to move forward with increased empathy and understanding of the differences that have [existed] and will exist on a campus filled with individuals from an array of backgrounds who bring with them a wide range of political views, religious affiliations and ideals,” the board's statement read, the paper reported. “This is part of what makes OCC great."
The community college and its district got thousands of calls and letters from all over the United States after the story of the video broke, as well as after O'Neil's one-semester suspension was announced last week, the Register said.
“I'm just happy I can row and go to school," O'Neil — a member of the college's rowing team — told the paper. "It's great news."
In the secretly recorded video, Cox — who also called then Vice President-elect Mike Pence “one of the most anti-gay humans in this country” — told her class that “we are in for a difficult time.”
“Our nation is divided, we have been assaulted, it’s an act of terrorism,” Cox said. “One of the most frightening things for me and most people in my life is that the people creating the assault are among us.”
Later a pair of students claimed Cox told Trump supporters in the class to stand during the lecture, which they said was intimidating.
But Rob Schneiderman, president of the Coast Federation of Educators/American Federation of Teachers Local 1911, told the Register that after Cox said some would be happy with the election results — and a student stood up in approval — Cox then invited others to stand as well if they wanted.
After the video went public, Cox reportedly received death threats and temporarily left California.
Following the decision to lift O'Neil's suspension, the Coast Federation of Educators — which represents Cox and the district’s faculty — said in a statement it's "deeply disappointed” that administrators “capitulated to individuals and groups who threatened and bullied students, faculty, and administration,” the Register said.
“Faculty and students are less likely to explore controversial issues, guest speakers are hesitant to present on campus," Schneiderman said in the Thursday statement, the paper said, "and students giving presentations are concerned that they may be cyber-bullied."
The following news video aired before O'Neil's suspension was lifted:
(H/T: Heat Street)