Reversal comes after Freedom X places College on Notice of Lawsuit

LOS ANGELES (2/27/2017) –  In a remarkably swift course reversal, Orange Coast College (OCC) in Costa Mesa, CA, has backed away from its decision to suspend and sanction 19-year-old freshman student Caleb O’Neil for videotaping an instructor’s anti-Trump tirade, a personal rant unrelated to the course curriculum. The decision came during a closed session meeting held last Wednesday with college administrators and their attorneys.

The university’s retreat follows a month of controversy after Caleb was notified by the college that he would be suspended for a full semester and a summer term. The college additionally required Caleb to be placed on academic probation for a year, demanded he apologize to the instructor, Olga Perez Stable Cox, and ordered him to write an essay explaining (1) why he made the videotape, (2) why he shared it with others, (3) why it went viral and caused “damage” to students, faculty and staff, (4) what other choices he could have made to resolve the “situation,” and (5) how to prevent “this” from occurring again. 

Freedom X delivered a searing legal analysis to the college threatening legal action if the  disciplinary measures were not immediately lifted.  In the analysis, Freedom X argued that that the suspension and sanctions were improper and excessive, that Caleb was discriminated against on the basis of his overt support for Trump and conservative beliefs when Cox diverted from the course subject matter, and that the investigation into the incident was ideologically based and violated Caleb’s due process rights.

In its public statement, OCC stated, “It’s time to move forward with increased empathy and understanding of the differences that have and will exist on a campus filled with individuals from an array of backgrounds who bring them a wide range of political views, religious affiliations and ideals.”

Although Cox violated her own course syllabus’ prohibition against discrimination on the basis of personal beliefs and engaged in unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination, OCC refused to discipline her.

OCC was flooded with emails, letters and phone calls from angry citizens expressing their revulsion to the college’s treatment of Caleb.

Freedom X president and general counsel Bill Becker expressed mixed feelings about the outcome:

“Notwithstanding our relief that Caleb will no longer have a suspension on his academic record, the college’s miscalculation leaves a blemish on its reputation. We hope that the administration, staff and faculty have learned from the errors made. It is unfortunate that no public apology to Caleb was issued. The administration put him in fear of losing his academic standing, his athletic ambitions and his career plans. Offering him a public apology would have been the right thing to do.

“It is also unfortunate that the instructor, Olga Cox, who blew open this sordid controversy will face no discipline for deviating from her duties as a public servant when she entered into threatening and intimidating behavior attacking conservative students under her charge. Perhaps the public’s adverse response to her misconduct has taught her to take her role more seriously in the future.”

Becker added that this incident should be a warning to public officials, including public schools, colleges and universities, that viewpoint discrimination will not be tolerated.

“Too many victims of the Left’s hatred of conservatives are unwilling to step up to the powers that cheat them of their constitutional freedoms of speech, religion and assembly,” Becker said. “We need people to rise up whenever someone has become the victim of discrimination  by radicals who seek to destroy the moral foundation of our nation. Caleb bravely fought back and won.  He should serve as an example to everyone.”

Becker and Caleb are available for media inquiries and interviews.

Joshua Recalde-Martinez
Freedom X Communications Director
Phone: 714-713-7983

Notice of Appeal

Heat Street
Los Angeles Times

Freedom X is a non-profit public interest law firm and advocacy center protecting conservative and religious freedom of expression. To learn more about who we are and what we do, please visit

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