Occidental College

Location: Los Angeles, California
Website: http://www.oxy.edu
Type: Private
Federal Circuit: 9th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Occidental College has been given the speech code rating Yellow. Yellow light colleges and universities are those institutions with at least one ambiguous policy that too easily encourages administrative abuse and arbitrary application. Read more here.

Yellow Light Policies
  • Student Handbook: Appropriate Use Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies

    Students, faculty, staff, and other members of the Occidental College community will: … use computing and networking facilities and resources in a manner that is not considered harmful or harassing to a person.

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  • Student Handbook: Code of Student Conduct 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    The following, while not exhaustive, represents misconduct subject to conduct action:

    a. Conduct which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person including physical abuse, verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, harassment, and/or coercion.

    » Read More

  • Bias Incident Reporting 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech

    You can report a bias or hate-related incident as a witness or a victim. Although it is helpful to tell us who you are, reports can be made anonymously. Filling out the form below will activate the Bias Incident Response Team to follow-up.

    What is a hate incident? A hate incident is an action in which a person is made aware that her/his status is offensive to another, but does not rise to the level of a crime.

    What is a bias incident? A bias incident is conduct, speech or expression motivated, in whole or in part, by bias or prejudice. It differs from a hate crime in that no criminal activity is involved.

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  • Student Handbook: Posting and Publicity Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Posting Policies

    An event must be registered with Master Calendar before public posting of the event may occur. Postings in the Quad, Samuelson Pavilion, Johnson Student Center, and Rose Hills Plaza must be approved through the Office of Student Life (OSL). Postings in residence halls must be approved through the Office of Residential Education and Housing Services. The administrative or academic department must approve postings in all other Administrative or Academic Buildings who have authority within that facility.

    Distribution of handbills or commercial publicity by or for off-campus parties is prohibited without prior approval from OSL. Planners of student- or campus-sponsored events may distribute handbills in the Quad area only.

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Green Light Policies
  • Student Handbook: Harassment Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Discriminatory harassment is conduct that is sufficiently severe or pervasive that it creates a hostile working or academic environment which unreasonably interferes with, limits or denies educational or employment access, benefits or opportunities on the basis on a person’s protected status, including race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identification, age, religious creed, physical and/or mental disability, medical condition, veteran status, marital status or other status protected by this policy and anti-discrimination and anti-harassment statutes.

    Examples of sexual harassment may include: … 4. A severe, persistent or pervasive pattern of unwelcome conduct that would discomfort or humiliate a reasonable person at whom the conduct was directed that includes one or more of the following: (1) unnecessary touching, patting, hugging, or brushing against a person’s body; (2) remarks of a sexual nature about a person’s clothing or body; (3) remarks about a sexual activity or speculations about previous sexual experience; or (4) other objectively offensive comments of a sexual nature, including persistent or pervasive sexually explicit statements, questions, jokes, or anecdotes;

    5. Severe, persistent, or pervasive visual displays of suggestive, erotic, or degrading sexually-oriented images that are not pedagogically appropriate;

    6. Letters, notes or electronic mail containing comments, words, or images described above.

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  • Student Handbook: Right to Dissent and Demonstration Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression

    The right to dissent is essential to academic freedom and scholarly pursuits. Protest against a particular position, action or situation is permitted as long as the protest activity does not restrict the freedom of thought or movement of others who hold different views.

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  • Student Handbook: Code of Student Conduct 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    In this Code ‘harassment': (a) is the use, display, or other demonstration of words, gestures, imagery, or physical materials, or the engagement in any form of bodily conduct, on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, alienage, sex, religion, age, sexual orientation, or physical or mental disability, which has the effect of creating a hostile and intimidating environment sufficiently severe or pervasive to substantially impair a reasonable person’s participation in College programs or activities, or use of College facilities; (b) must target a specific person or persons; and (c) must be addressed directly to that person or persons.

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  • Harvard Liberals Hate New Campus Sex Laws

    October 19, 2014

    By Cathy Young at The Daily Beast The increasingly contentious debate about the proper response to sexual assault on college campuses took a new turn on Oct. 15, when The Boston Globe ran an op-ed signed by twenty-eight current and retired Harvard Law School professors expressing “strong objections” to the school’s new Sexual Harassment Policy and Procedures. The sharply worded statement not only slammed the university administration for forcing the policy on all of Harvard’s schools without adequate discussion but also charged that the new procedures for handling complaints of sexual misconduct “lack the most basic elements of fairness and due process [and] are […]

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  • Here’s Another Reason to Hate Title IX

    October 13, 2014

    By Casey Givens at Townhall Due process advocates have been up in arms over the past few months as California passed the first statewide “affirmative consent” law in the nation. According to the freshly signed SB 967, all college campuses accepting financial aid in the Golden State must enforce a high standard of establishing sexual consent in student disciplinary hearings, requiring both parties in question to vocalize their approval before engaging in sexual acts. While an array of concerns have been raised about the legal ramifications of this law, one important question has been left out of the discussion almost entirely […]

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  • ‘Affirmative Consent’ Blurs The Lines Between Consensual Sex and Sexual Assault On Campus

    October 13, 2014

    By Stephen Littau at United Liberty When it came to educating young people about respecting personal boundaries, the rules were very simple and generally easy to understand: no means no. This was particularly true when it came to teaching young men that when things were getting ‘hot and heavy’ with someone they were making out with that if the woman at any point said ‘no’ it was time to back off (and perhaps should take a cold shower once he got home). For as long as I can remember, society was ‘teaching men not to rape’ to coin a phrase. […]

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  • TOO DRUNK TO CONSENT: A Leaked Sexual Assault Investigation Highlights The Latest Campus Debate

    September 15, 2014

    By Peter Jacobs at Business Insider Occidental College is a small liberal arts school in the Eagle Rock area of Los Angeles that for years was best known as the institution where Barack Obama used to smoke cigarettes and hang out with “Marxist professors and feminist structuralists and punk rock performance poets,” as he wrote in his memoir “Dreams of My Father.” But in recent years it’s become better known as a flashpoint in the campus sexual assault crisis. An ongoing legal dispute over a drunken sexual encounter between two freshmen, which occurred one year ago last week at the college, […]

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  • Huffpost Gets It Wrong on a Campus Rape Case

    July 24, 2014

    By KC Johnson at Minding the Campus Earlier this week, Huffington Post’s Tyler Kingkade published an article strongly critical of FIRE’s efforts to shine light on Occidental College’s troubling approach to due process. The article implied—without saying so directly—that FIRE was responsible for alleged harassment towards anti-due process activists on the campus. The underlying skepticism about the free exchange of information might seem unusual, but actually is a hardly uncommon tactic among opponents of campus due process. The basics: FIRE posted court documents from one of the many campus due process lawsuits, this one filed by a student who claimed he […]

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  • Campus-Assault Crackdown Provoking Expensive Backlash

    July 5, 2014

    By Bob Unruh at WND The Obama administration has been trying to crack down on campus sexual assaults by lowering the standard of evidence needed by university and college panels to convict suspects, but the policy change has provoked a backlash as accused students fight back with lawsuits. Instead of “beyond a reasonable doubt,” as practiced in criminal courts, the new standard is  “preponderance of evidence,” meaning it’s more likely than not that an assault occurred. The policy change has resulted in more convictions and is starting to get expensive. Really expensive. While only four such lawsuits were filed against universities […]

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  • College Reacts to Negative Press by Attempting to Seal Court Documents Exposing Its Ridiculous Actions

    June 27, 2014

    By Tim Cushing at TechDirt I don’t know what possesses certain individuals and entities to address their screwups by attempting to bury them, especially in an age where a wealth of information is still (mostly) a Google search away. Whatever happened to taking responsibility for errors of judgement? By opting for the “hasty burial” method of reputation management, these entities almost invariably direct more attention to the very thing they wanted everyone to forget. It happens so frequently, it even has its own name. Occidental College expelled a student over rape allegations, opting to take the path well knee-jerked, rendering its decision before all the facts […]

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  • Good Grades, Good Home Gets College Student Profiled as Rapist, Claims Lawsuit

    June 6, 2014

    By Joshua Rhett Miller at Fox News Being a valedictorian from a “good family” helped get a California student blamed for an alleged rape by a bizarre, college tribunal that critics claim is part of an overzealous culture of blaming men for hookups that go awry, according to a lawsuit. A former Occidental College student known only as “John Doe” has sued the Los Angeles school after it found him “responsible” for an alleged Sept. 8, 2013, rape local police could not substantiate ever happened. The student was expelled after the liberal arts school’s investigation, despite offering strong text message evidence […]

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  • Occidental and the “Rape Culture” Hysteria

    June 6, 2014

    By KC Johnson at Minding the Campus The latest due process lawsuit comes against a highly vulnerable target: Occidental. Occidental is the California college whose rules allow branding a male student a rapist even if his female partner says “yes” to sexual intercourse. Moreover, the school includes what seems to be a disproportionate number of anti-due process “activists,” professors inclined toward delusional claims against their administration even as they suggest that outsiders should trust their credibility that the campus is awash in rape. The Occidental case is, if anything, more extreme than the typical due process case, because of the involvement of an anti-due process […]

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  • Victory: Occidental College settles free speech lawsuit with wronged student

    October 22, 2007

    Following a three-year dispute and a multi-million-dollar lawsuit, Occidental College and former student shock jock Jason Antebi (nee: Rantz) have settled a lawsuit in which Antebi sued the school for maliciously violating his freedom of speech and due process rights when it fired him and found him guilty of harassment” for jokes both on and off the air. Stunningly, Occidental used this controversy as a pretext to dissolve the student government and began an aggressive campaign of false accusations and distortions to justify its actions. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which took up Antebi’s defense in 2004, […]

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  • Occidental College settles lawsuit with ‘shock jock’ student

    October 19, 2007

    Occidental College has settled a lawsuit with a former student who accused it and several of its officials in 2005 of free-speech violations and defamation, among other claims. The former student, Jason Antebi, was a self-proclaimed “shock jock” on the college’s student radio station, KOXY. His show, “Rant and Rave,” was provocative and satirical, but in 2004, his senior year, Occidental officials said he went too far. After Mr. Antebi insulted specific students—political adversaries who had publicly accused him of racism, and whom he mocked on the air as “Vander Douche” and “Sam the Bearded Feminist”—the college pulled the plug […]

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  • Ex-‘shock jock’ at Occidental College settles lawsuit

    October 19, 2007

    A former “shock jock” at OccidentalCollege ’s Internet radio station has settled his defamation lawsuit against the college.   But an attorney for the college said Friday the school’s former student, Jason Antebi, 25, of Northridge only won a “nominal” payment from the settlement.   Antebi’s show on the college’s KOXY station was called “The Rant and Rave.” In a March 2004 radio show, Antebi insulted fellow members of the student council while using satirical names for them, including “Sam the Bearded Feminist,” and pretended to take Vicodin, according to a court brief he filed.   Days after that broadcast, […]

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  • California Supreme Court denies shock jock’s request for review

    November 1, 2006

    Antebi says he will lobby legislature to fix California’s Leonard Law by Marnette Federis Student Press Law Center News Flash   The California State Supreme Court has refused to review shock jock Jason Antebi’s censorship lawsuit against Occidental College, letting stand a lower court’s ruling that he did not have legal standing to sue the university because he already graduated. Antebi sued the university under California’s Leonard Law, a statute designed to protect student free expression rights at private colleges in the state. In his lawsuit, Antebi claimed that the university violated the law when they fired him from the […]

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  • Antebi Files Appeal Suit Against Oxy

    February 15, 2006

    by Nick Velkavrh The Occidental Weekly   Attached Files Antebi Files Appeal Suit Against Oxy, PDF, 269.7 KB , The Occidental Weekly

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  • Court dismisses former college radio host’s lawsuit

    October 6, 2005

    A Superior Court in Los Angeles dismissed a former college radio host’s lawsuit, which claimed that his First Amendment rights were violated when school officials fired him for content he aired. The court ruled Aug. 1 that California’s Leonard Law, which gives students at private colleges some of the same First Amendment protections enjoyed by students at public schools, can only be used by students who are enrolled in school at the time they file a lawsuit. The court dismissed Jason Antebi’s lawsuit against Occidental College because he filed the suit eight months after he graduated from the institution. The […]

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  • Former shock jock sues college for pulling him off the airwaves

    October 1, 2005

    [This article appeared in the Fall 2005 edition of the SPLC’s quarterly Report.] CALIFORNIA — Jason Antebi is applying to graduate schools and trying to continue his education after his graduation from Occidental College, but he says his censure by the school for sexual harassment stemming from comments he made on his radio show has made that process difficult. Antebi sued the college for violating his rights in March under a California statue that protects free expression at private schools, a year after he was fired from his radio show and censured for sexual harassment over his on-air comments. Antebi’s […]

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  • The Chill Is Nothing New

    September 9, 2005

    There is a chill on campus, but that’s nothing new. For decades, campus speech has been chilled by speech codes and other attempts to prevent expression that might offend. Some would like to imagine that the excesses of “political correctness” are ancient history, but repression in the name of tolerance hasn’t gone anywhere. Oppressive speech codes are not only still around—they have actually multiplied, even after numerous court decisions declared them unconstitutional. Within the past year, college students have been punished for such things as expressing a religious objection to homosexuality and arguing that corporal punishment may be acceptable. Students […]

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  • Wronging student rights

    September 3, 2005

    By Greg Lukianoff in The Boston Globe As summer ends and college students return to campus, a number of dreadful court decisions may cause them to wonder if their rights have taken a permanent vacation. While the past decades have hardly been a golden age for student rights, there was good reason to be optimistic in recent years. Speech codes fell at colleges from New York to California, the Department of Education finally clarified that “harassment” does not mean just being offended, and Texas Tech University had to admit that its lone 20-foot-wide “free speech gazebo” was inadequate space for […]

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  • Polly gaffes

    April 16, 2005

    By Mark Bergin at World Magazine Scott McConnell disputes the postmodern fads of elementary pedagogy, calling multiculturalism and lax discipline educational stumbling blocks. The former graduate student at Le Moyne College in Syracuse advocates a more traditional classroom—complete with cultural value judgments and corporal punishment. Such ideas, according to Le Moyne officials, merit expulsion. Mr. McConnell’s story tops the Collegiate Network’s 2005 Campus Outrage Awards, an annual listing of ridiculous happenings in academia. The Pollys—so dubbed in mockery of political correctness run amok—are meant to incite more than just chuckles among conservatives. “We want to focus national attention on the absurdity […]

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  • ‘Pollys’ Spotlight Politically Correct Excesses On U.S. Campuses

    April 14, 2005

    By Jim Brown at Agape Press A higher education watchdog group has unveiled its annual “Campus Outrage Awards,” documenting the worst “absurdities” and most egregious examples of political correctness on college campuses this year. The president of Harvard University receiving a faculty vote of no confidence for suggesting that innate differences might account for some of the inequalities between men and women in certain fields of endeavor; and Duke University hosting a Palestine Solidarity Movement conference with a segment designed to recruit students for terrorist groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad — those are just two of the dubious honorees […]

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  • 2005 Campus Outrage Awards

    April 1, 2005

    Collegiate Network Duke spends over $50,000 on a tactical training session for activists dedicated to the destruction of the state of Israel, while a graduate student at LeMoyne College is expelled for writing that light spanking has a legitimate role in classroom discipline. A UNLV professor is engulfed in a whirlwind of controversy after making a remark about the financial planning habits of homosexuals, while a student at Occidental College is convicted of sexually harassing the whole school over the radio. Ward Churchill is defended by the academic community for declaring that victims of the World Trade Center bombing deserved […]

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  • Shock jock sues college

    March 18, 2005

    EAGLE ROCK — A former Occidental College talk radio host whose verbal skewering of fellow students prompted school officials to discipline him for sexual harassment has sued his alma mater for $10 million. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Higher Education and the American Civil Liberties Union are among the civil- rights organizations that have rallied behind the former talk show host, Jason Antebi. “It’s about a university that is supposed to be teaching people to be open-minded, to be thinkers, and who themselves are close-minded and completely disrespectful of the student’s constitutional rights,’ said Antebi’s attorney, Richard Sherman. Antebi, […]

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  • Fired Campus Radio ‘Shock Jock’ Sues College

    March 16, 2005

    Contending that his freedom of speech was violated and reputation damaged, a former student ousted last year by Occidental College as co-host of a “shock jock”-style campus radio show sued his alma mater Tuesday for more than $10 million. Jason Antebi’s suit says that the Los Angeles college had no basis for removing him from the “Rant and Rave” show on campus station KOXY-FM (104.7). It also maintains that Occidental officials wrongly found him guilty in a campus disciplinary proceeding of sexual harassment for comments he made on the show. Antebi’s firing became a celebrated cause among some advocates for […]

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  • ‘Lyle’ Portends Life Without Freedom, ‘Friends,’ ‘Seinfeld’

    March 10, 2005

    Every year when I attend a national conference of administrators for America’s colleges and universities, one message comes through loud and clear: claims of harassment, sexual or otherwise, are out of control. At this conference, experts review harassment case law, recent suits and settlements from across the country. They also tell horror stories of absurd harassment accusations they have battled and quote statistics placing the cost of defending just one of these suits, no matter how frivolous, at hundreds of thousands of dollars, with the average award to plaintiffs equally high. In my work at the Foundation for Individual Rights […]

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  • Dark Times for Students at Occidental College

    December 27, 2004

    Despite the uproar about the Federal Communications Commission’s aggressive attempts to clean up America’s airwaves, a shocking case of censorship that recently occurred in California has garnered precious little attention. What makes this case even more distressing is that it originated in a medium where one would expect free speech to be sacrosanct: college radio.   Jason Antebi, a senior at Occidental College in Los Angeles, not only lost his job at the student radio station, but was also found guilty by campus officials of “sexual harassment” for the content of his radio show. Antebi’s show was one of the […]

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  • Difference between offensive, unprotected speech

    December 8, 2004

    In March of 2004, I was hastily fired from the radio show I had hosted for three years as a student at Occidental College in Los Angeles and found guilty of “sexual harassment” against my entire audience for parodying two student government rivals on my show. My crime? I had called one a “bearded feminist” and the other a “douche.” Sure, it may have been impolite, but my show was called “Rant and Rave,” and the entire point of the show was to deliver the “shock jock” humor that is typical of college radio programs. That style, which criticized everyone […]

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  • Oxy’s morons

    August 4, 2004

    On March 30th of this year, Occidental College President Ted Mitchell (email) announced that he was disbanding the Occidental College student government due to various instances of “abusive, intimidating, harassing behavior that have no place on (Occidental’s) campus.” According to Mitchell, such acts were “masquerading as open expression.” This action by the college now means that $441,000 in student fees will not be administered by the students’ elected representatives. Instead, they have been confiscated by college administrators.   Most of the reasons cited by President Mitchell relate to a student “shock jock” named Jason Antebi who was the host of a […]

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  • Educational Group: Occidental on Thin Ice, Suppressing Student Free Speech

    July 20, 2004

    Occidental College in Los Angeles is being accused of suppressing free speech by firing the host of a popular student radio program and finding him guilty of sexual harassment due to satirical jokes he made on the air.   In March, the school fired Jason Antebi for making on-air comments that two of his student government rivals claimed were offensive to “women, diversity, and Occidental College.” Greg Lukianoff with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) then wrote a letter to the college on behalf of Antebi. The school’s response, he says, indicated to him that the general counsel […]

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  • Emily Yoffe on ‘The College Rape Overcorrection’

    December 8, 2014

    Emily Yoffe has thoroughly examined and thoughtfully considered the complex issue of how colleges and universities handle allegations of sexual assault, and the result is a must-read article published yesterday in Slate. Yoffe starts by detailing the case of Drew Sterrett, a former University of Michigan student who is claiming in a lawsuit (PDF) against the university that it punished him for an alleged sexual assault without a fair hearing and despite significant exculpatory evidence. This account may not surprise readers familiar with John Doe’s pseudonymous lawsuit against Occidental College (which Yoffe also discusses in her piece), or the case […]

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  • Former Occidental Student Files Title IX Complaint After Being Denied Fair Hearing

    October 29, 2014

    This past June, FIRE reported on the case of a former Occidental College student who had filed a pseudonymous lawsuit against the private institution in California after being expelled for an alleged sexual assault. John Doe was found “responsible” for the violation despite significant evidence that the sexual encounter in question was consensual. (Readers can find exculpatory text messages and other materials on our Occidental case page.) Doe argued in his complaint that Occidental denied him key due process protections and failed to follow its own written policies in adjudicating the case. Now Doe has also filed a Title IX […]

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  • Public Records and the Occidental Sexual Assault Controversy

    July 23, 2014

    Last Friday afternoon, I received an email from Tyler Kingkade, an associate editor at The Huffington Post who has been covering the issue of sexual assault on college and university campuses. Kingkade was asking about FIRE’s case at Occidental College, where a student was found “responsible” for sexual assault despite the fact that the district attorney refused to charge him with any crime, and text message evidence indicates that both parties consented to having sex. That student sued Occidental in February for what he feels is a wrongful guilty finding. Documents related to Occidental’s investigation of the student were entered […]

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  • ‘New York Times’ Misses Opportunity to Report on Campus Due Process Violations

    July 7, 2014

    Last week, the New York Times Editorial Board addressed the issue of campus sexual assault. Unfortunately, the Board missed an opportunity to address many serious concerns held by FIRE and others about university policies and practices that threaten the due process rights of students accused of sexual misconduct.

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  • Occidental Belatedly Attempts to Seal Case Documents—and Fails

    June 19, 2014

    In February, former Occidental College student “John Doe” filed a pseudonymous lawsuit against the institution, alleging that the college did not grant him a fair hearing before expelling him for an alleged sexual assault. With the stunningly bad facts of the investigation and disciplinary process made public, Occidental and its lawyers are trying—unsuccessfully—to get the cat back into the bag.

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  • Sexual Assault Injustice at Occidental: College Railroads Accused Student

    June 4, 2014

    LOS ANGELES, June 4, 2014—Under pressure from the federal government to take action on sexual assault, and in the wake of a multi-plaintiff lawsuit from attorney Gloria Allred last year, Occidental College has found a student “responsible” for sexual assault despite the fact that police refused to charge him with any crime and text message evidence indicates that both parties consented to having sex. Accused student John Doe has filed a pseudonymous lawsuit against Occidental College to invalidate its finding and contacted the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help. “Disregard for due process on campus, prompted by […]

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  • Four Key Points About Free Speech and the Feds’ ‘Blueprint’

    July 15, 2013

    It’s been more than two months since FIRE and the higher ed community were shocked by a letter issued jointly by the Departments of Education and Justice to the University of Montana. FIRE staff have blogged extensively about the Departments’ “blueprint” for campus sexual harassment in the last 10 weeks, but there are four crucial points that I believe bear special emphasis. 1. Overbroad and vague harassment rationales have been the primary justification and legal theorybehind campus speech codes since the 1980s.  In one sense, the attempt to stretch the definition of harassment beyond all recognition is nothing new. Speech codes came into vogue on campuses […]

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  • Please Explain Why Putting University Administrators in Charge of Judging Speech Is a Good Idea

    July 9, 2013

    Architect Rolls and Plans – Shutterstock My colleagues have done a thorough job of explaining why defenders of the Department of Education’s “blueprint” for preventing campus sexual harassment are on very shaky legal and logical ground. They have pointed out that some of ED’s allies have misquoted the findings letter and mocked Senator John McCain’s serious questions about the threat to free speech and about OCR’s authority to impose this blueprint. Other defenders of the blueprint have brushed away concerns by portraying its definition of sexual harassment as “any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature” as simply a way of encouraging reporting. […]

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  • ‘California Watch': No Free Speech at California Colleges

    January 7, 2011

    Free speech is not safe at California colleges—not by a long shot. That’s what investigative reporter Erica Perez found in FIRE’s 2011 speech code report, as she wrote yesterday for California Watch: A new report from a national free speech advocacy organization found most of the four-year universities it surveyed had speech codes that substantially limit students’ freedom of speech, including dozens of colleges in California. [...] Of the 33 California universities the organization rated, 64 percent got a red light, including San Diego State University, UC Santa Cruz and Claremont McKenna College. About 36 percent got a yellow light, including UC Berkeley, Occidental College and San Jose State University. […]

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  • This Month in FIRE History: FIRE Defends Student “Shock Jock” at Occidental College

    July 23, 2008

    As FIRE approaches our tenth anniversary in 2009, it’s fitting to revisit the most important cases that we’ve taken during the past decade. Every month, I’ll delve deep into our archives to highlight some of our most memorable defenses of individual rights on campus. To start, let’s consider one of FIRE’s most notorious cases: that of Occidental College student radio “shock jock” Jason Antebi. While attending Occidental College, Antebi had been the host of a college radio show entitled “Rant and Rave.” The show had a reputation for frequently mocking both the administration and the student government, of which Antebi […]

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  • The Media Has Never Understood the Oxy Case

    October 22, 2007

    So, sadly and predictably, the coverage of the Oxy settlement has entirely missed why the Oxy case was so egregious. While some of the articles that have been written mention Jason Antebi’s rude on-air speech, they ignore the most serious facts of the case. As I said in the press release, the case was not so much about speech as it was about ruthlessness, corruption, and violations of students’ rights in a post hoc effort by a college to prove it had done the right thing. As loyal Torch readers might remember, I did a 10-part blog series on the […]

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  • Oxy in the News

    October 22, 2007

    Our case at Occidental College, where former student shock jock Jason Antebi finally settled a multi-million-dollar lawsuit against the school for maliciously violating his free speech and due process rights, has hit the media.   The settlement of the case, which received tons of media attention as it unfolded, was covered in the Los Angeles Daily News and The Chronicle of Higher Education.   Sadly, in both of these stories, Occidental’s lawyer Stuart D. Tochner downplays the school’s culpability in firing Antebi for what was clearly protected speech. Tochner stated to the Chronicle There isn’t and never was any merit […]

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  • Antebi Explained

    October 19, 2007

    When it comes to trampling student rights, violating basic principles of fairness, and flat-out dishonesty, you might expect that we here at FIRE have seen the worst of the worst.   And you’d be right. FIRE has seen the worst—and when it comes to the sheer abuse of power, the worst is without question the case of Occidental College and its dealings with former student Jason Antebi. Today, after over three and a half years of effort, FIRE is extremely pleased to announce that Jason’s case has finally come to an end in the form of an undisclosed settlement with […]

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  • Despite Setbacks, Antebi Keeps Up Fight Against Oxy

    July 20, 2007

    Loyal Torch readers will likely remember with lingering outrage the plight of former student radio shock jock Jason Antebi. Occidental College’s concerted efforts to ruin Antebi’s academic career unquestionably rank among the worst abuses of student rights we’ve ever seen here at FIRE—so bad, in fact, that it took us ten separate blog entries here on The Torch to document what we accurately described as “Occidental College’s Ongoing Shame.” To our lasting disappointment, the case seemed to have ended completely unsatisfactorily—at least for those who believe in freedom of expression on campus.   After all, when last we reported on […]

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  • Jason Antebi on Hopkins and Facebook

    December 8, 2006

    Jason Antebi, a graduate of Occidental College who suffered one of the worst abuses of campus rights that FIRE has encountered, has an article in FrontPage Magazine today on Johns Hopkins’ inexcusable treatment of student Justin Park. Antebi points out, disturbingly, that “Park’s case is not an anomaly,” and goes on to write a good review of several situations where college students have been punished for online expression. For a disturbing reminder, if one is needed, that college censorship is now spreading its reach even to the World Wide Web, Antebi’s article is worth a read.

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  • Lawyers for former Occidental shock jock ask California Supreme Court for review

    September 29, 2006

    Lawyers for former Occidental College shock jock Jason Antebi filed a brief with the California State Supreme Court last week asking it to review a court ruling that said he had no legal standing to sue the university for censorship because he had already graduated. In his lawsuit, Antebi claimed university officials violated California’s Leonard Law, which provides free speech protection to private college students, when they fired him from the campus radio station for controversial comments made on air. But an appeals court upheld a ruling that the Leonard Law only applies to students who are “currently enrolled” at […]

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  • Judges allow defamation lawsuit against Oxy to proceed

    September 27, 2006

    Occidental Alumnus and former KOXY “shock-jock” Jason Antebi (’04) can sue Occidental College and its General Counsel Sandra Cooper for defamation, according to a decision handed down by a California appellate court last month. The unanimous decision by the three-judge panel reversed a lower court’s ruling that dismissed Antebi’s lawsuit. The trial court’s August 2005 decision held that Antebi was required to pursue internal “administrative” remedies to exhaustion, such as judicial hearings with College officials and other forms of recourse outlined in the student handbook, but regardless of Occidental’s conduct, Antebi could not sue. In spring 2004, Occidental cancelled Antebi’s […]

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  • Antebi Petition for Review Filed

    September 22, 2006

    This afternoon, Jason Antebi took the next step in his continuing struggle for justice against his alma mater, Occidental College.    Jason’s Petition for Review was filed with the California Supreme Court hours ago, formally requesting the state’s highest court to review the decision of the California Court of Appeal.  The lower court’s opinion was marred by mistakes of law that, if allowed to stand, would eviscerate the state’s “Leonard Law,” which guarantees First Amendment protections to students at private universities.         FIRE has stood by Jason’s side since for more than two years now, and will proudly continue […]

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  • Occidental Ruling Misses the Mark

    September 15, 2006

    The battle continues for former shock-jock Jason Antebi in his case against Occidental College. The Student Press Law Center reported Wednesday that a state appeals court found that Antebi lacked standing to sue Occidental under California’s Leonard Law, which shields students at private California colleges from censorship of speech that would be constitutionally protected in society at large.   This ruling reflects an apparent loophole in the Leonard Law, which provides that “any student enrolled” at the institution can sue when the law is violated. Since Antebi had already graduated from Occidental when he filed his suit, the court found […]

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  • (Re)Introducing Will Creeley

    September 8, 2006

    Those of you who have followed FIRE’s work closely are probably already familiar with our new Senior Program Officer, Will Creeley. He has been working with FIRE since the summer of 2004, and in the spring of this year—while he was getting ready to graduate from NYU and take the bar exam—he began working part-time for FIRE. With law school and the bar exam behind him, he is now a full-time part of the team, and we are thrilled to have him on board. But enough from me—here’s Will: I am extremely proud to begin my professional career at FIRE. […]

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  • ‘Occidental Offenses’ at National Review Online

    September 5, 2006

    Be sure to check out Anthony Dick’s insightful article at National Review Online about the ongoing saga of Jason Antebi and Occidental College. For those of you who do not know about the Occidental odyssey, I recommend checking out our unprecedented ten-part blog series, which explains the twists and turns of this truly remarkable case. While the Occidental case started as just another sad example of campus censorship, it quickly escalated into a campaign of misinformation, absurd claims, and outright corruption. As former FIRE president David French recently put it: “Jason Antebi’s ordeal represented quite possibly the worst abuse of […]

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  • Occidental offenses

    September 5, 2006

    In 2003 and 2004, Jason Antebi, a student at Occidental College in Los Angeles, hosted a popular student-radio program that he now describes as “a satirical cross between Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern.” He and his co-host delivered commentary from an edgy conservative perspective, using crude and sometimes intentionally offensive language to lampoon various student activists and administrators. At the same time, Antebi was elected to serve as the vice president of his student government. In that capacity, he was critical of many aspects of Occidental’s political climate. He consistently opposed the hypersensitive political correctness that dominated the college, and […]

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  • Jason Antebi, Occidental College, and free speech

    August 25, 2006

    Jason Antebi can be offensive. There’s no way around it. When Antebi attended Occidental College, from 2000 to 2004, he ticked off many of his fellow students. Antebi was a conservative member of the Occidental Student Government and a Howard Stern-type disk jockey on the Occidental student station. His political opponents, in a failed effort to recall him from his student government position, called him a “racist” and “anti-Semite” (Antebi is Jewish); his door was defaced with the words “You’re a f—ing racist”; he was accused of “sexually harassing women.” Antebi registered complaints with the Occidental administration; the administration did […]

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  • Celebrating One Year of ‘The Torch’

    February 28, 2006

    One year ago this month, FIRE launched The Torch as a decisive step into the daily debate over civil liberties on campus. The blog format has proved to be a great forum for FIRE staff members to introduce and follow up on FIRE cases, discuss current legal and policy issues affecting campus rights, point out interesting articles and other blog posts, and present FIRE’s reflections on campus controversies that have not been adopted as FIRE cases. We are especially proud of the scrutiny of misguided campus policies that has been generated by The Torch’s “Speech Code of the Month” feature—indeed, […]

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  • ‘Sexual Harassment Policies Need Reform’

    February 15, 2006

    Do not miss Wendy McElroy’s piece on the abuse of “sexual harassment” from grade school through college. As we wrote on the home page: McElroy aptly rebukes the AAUW for “the harm wrought to children by biased reports that lump ‘comments, jokes, teasing, gestures, or looks’ in with real violence.” FIRE salutes Wendy McElroy for bravely drawing attention to the ongoing national scandal of overbroad and vague campus sexual harassment policies. The misuse of sexual harassment rationales has been a constant theme in FIRE’s work, with students and faculty alike demonstrtating a tendency to cry “harassment” any time they are […]

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  • Appeals Brief Filed in Occidental Lawsuit

    February 2, 2006

    Those who follow FIRE will be well aware of the shameful behavior of Occidental College in its persecution of student radio talk show host Jason Antebi. Antebi made the mistake of angering his student government rivals with his talk show, prompting them to file harassment claims against him for his on-air comments. A full description of this ridiculous case of censorship and deceit is on FIRE’s website. Some quick highlights: (1) Antebi was actually accused of harassment in part because he made fun of his own mother; (2) at one point he was also accused of anti-Semitism (he’s Jewish); and […]

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  • Art and the Myth of the ‘Right Not to Be Offended’

    October 21, 2005

    Check out the fascinating story (“Censoring Art or Protecting Workers?”) about censored artwork in Inside Higher Ed. Apparently the University of Michigan at Flint is demanding that a graphic drawing called Hermaphrodite be removed from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Center because it is creating a “hostile environment” for workers. Anyone who pays attention to the battle for free speech on campus knows that “hostile environment” is the most abused rationale for silencing expression on campus. As I wrote in a recent column about a legal decision that threatens to badly expand what constitutes “hostile environment”: Claims of harassment […]

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  • File Under ‘See No Evil’

    August 3, 2005

    Terry Caesar penned a column Monday on Inside Higher Ed lamenting the chilling effect speech codes have on professorial humor. Citing one of FIRE’s favorite examples, the former speech code at the University of Connecticut, he wrote: To relate an official response to some example of a joke, or even an unintended joke, on American campuses today is itself to appear to be telling a joke. Yet everybody knows speech codes that ban “inappropriately directed laughter” (say) are no joke. It’s not clear to me if a professor can be held accountable for a student who spontaneously tells a joke […]

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  • Oxy Asks California Court to Render the Leonard Law Powerless in Serious Cases of Censorship

    July 26, 2005

    On the Ides of March of this year, former Occidental College student Jason Antebi filed suit against his alma mater for an array of abuses it has taken FIRE the past months to fully recount. In the most recent back and forth in the legal battle, Oxy is largely relying on one very interesting (and very wrong) argument: that the Leonard Law protects only students who are currently enrolled at their respective universities.   The Leonard Law was passed in the early ’90s in order to combat the rise of speech codes on private campuses, including my alma mater Stanford. […]

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  • This Month in FIRE History: Office for Civil Rights ‘Clarifies’ Colleges’ Duty to Respect Free Speech

    July 15, 2005

    Two years ago this month, Gerald A. Reynolds of the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education (OCR) wrote a letter of clarification to colleges and universities regarding whether federal harassment laws, which form the basis of universities’ student harassment policies, “are intended to restrict speech activities that are protected under the First Amendment.” The letter explained clearly that OCR’s regulations could not be applied so as to interfere with the right to free expression, and that “the offensiveness of a particular expression, standing alone, is not a legally sufficient basis to establish a hostile environment under […]

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  • ‘Oxy President’s Departure Doesn’t Erase Speech Issue’

    July 13, 2005

    Check out the column by Samantha Harris and me in last week’s Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal. The piece opens: On June 8, Ted Mitchell, president of Occidental College in Los Angeles, officially announced that he will be stepping down. Occidental’s press release presented Mitchell’s resignation as if it were just another glorious event in the college’s spotless history. Unsurprisingly, the release mentions neither a multimillion-dollar lawsuit brought against Mitchell and his administration for alleged free speech violations, defamation and invasion of privacy, nor his virtually unprecedented decision to dissolve the student government because of students’ alleged “abuse” […]

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  • Oxy President’s Departure Doesn’t Erase Speech Issue

    July 6, 2005

    On June 8, Ted Mitchell, president of Occidental College in Los Angeles, officially announced that he will be stepping down. Occidental’s press release presented Mitchell’s resignation as if it were just another glorious event in the college’s spotless history. Unsurprisingly, the release mentions neither a multimillion-dollar lawsuit brought against Mitchell and his administration for alleged free speech violations, defamation and invasion of privacy, nor his virtually unprecedented decision to dissolve the student government because of students’ alleged “abuse” of free speech – much less the terrible national publicity these events have brought Oxy.In the rose-colored age of press releases for […]

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  • Occidental College President Steps Down

    June 9, 2005

    Ted Mitchell, president of Occidental College in Los Angeles, officially announced yesterday that he will be stepping down. While he obviously makes no mention of the free speech controversy involving Jason Antebi that marred the last year and a half of his tenure, and doubtlessly would deny that it had anything to do with his decision, one must wonder. Mitchell certainly bungled that case and brought a great deal of negative publicity Oxy’s way. That means two of the major actors in Jason Antebi’s case have stepped down (President Mitchell and Dean Ayala, who fired Antebi from his radio show in […]

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  • Occidental College’s Ongoing Shame: Part 10

    June 6, 2005

    As devoted Torch readers know, for months now I have authored a blog series on the incredible and ongoing case at Occidental College in Los Angles. On March 15, 2005, Jason Antebi filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Oxy for its unlawful censorship and its corrupt and dishonest handling of his case. As predicted, Occidental College’s strategy for dealing with the disrespect it has shown for students’ rights is to spin this as just a situation in which the college decided to remove a rude radio show host from his show. The most recent Occidental College alumni magazine, for example, […]

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  • Occidental College’s Ongoing Shame: Part 9

    May 24, 2005

    Ever since Jason Antebi filed suit against Occidental College for finding him guilty of sexual harassment under federal law for on-air jokes and for baselessly accusing him of serious criminal wrongdoing in order to keep groups like FIRE and the ACLU from coming to his aid, I have received many emails on the topic. Many of them point out other incidents at Oxy where speech was not tolerated or where the university acted as a bully with little or no respect for students’ rights. I have also received a handful of emails, however, that I find deeply disturbing. At least […]

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  • Occidental College’s Ongoing Shame: Part 8

    April 29, 2005

    Over a year after Occidental College in Los Angeles took the virtually unprecedented step of dissolving its entire student government in the midst of the Jason Antebi affair, it still has no student government (for thorough background on what has been going at Oxy,please click here). For months now, students have wrangled over the new constitution and the fight has been truly nasty at times. I have received multiple reports that the same male student who filed the sexual harassment charges against Antebi (for calling him a nickname that used the word “douche” and to whom we refer as “Male […]

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  • The Student Press Law Center Covers the Oxy Case

    April 7, 2005

    On Tuesday, the Student Press Law Center published a great article about the situation involving Jason Antebi at Occidental College in Los Angeles. In related news, the 28-page refutation we wrote of Oxy General Counsel’s stunningly inaccurate letter defending Oxy’s actions was one of the most downloaded items on our website last month. I am pleased that people are taking the time to read this long letter as it helps people understand that this case is far more serious than just an attempt to punish a rude DJ. I only hope that the Board of Trustees and alumni of Occidental […]

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  • Former Calif. university shock jock sues school for First Amendment violations

    April 5, 2005

    CALIFORNIA – A year after Occidental College fired him from his radio station job for making jokes on the air that school officials referred to as “hate speech,” former student and radio host Jason Antebi sued the private school for violating his constitutional rights. On March 15 Antebi filed suit–with the support of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education–in California Superior Court, claiming violations of his free speech and due process rights as protected by California law. Antebi’s battle with Occidental began in March 2004 when the school fired him from student radio station KOXY, after he made comments […]

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  • Le Moyne, Occidental, UNLV Top the List in the ‘2005 Campus Outrage Awards’

    April 1, 2005

    Today the Collegiate Network released its “2005 Campus Outrage Awards,” and Le Moyne College received a not-so-coveted first-place award for dismissing student Scott McConnell for advocating corporal punishment. In addition to this dubious distinction, McConnell’s case has been covered by The New York Times, NPR, The Baltimore Sun, The American Spectator, The Post-Standard, and the Christian Science Monitor. As I said in our press release on this case: “The fight for the academic freedom of Scott McConnell and for all Le Moyne students will not end just because administrators don’t feel like addressing the issue.” Let’s hope Le Moyne realizes that this debate […]

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  • Occidental College’s Ongoing Shame: Part 7

    March 29, 2005

    So, information about Oxy’s attempt to spin the recent lawsuit is beginning to trickle in. The strategy seems to be to keep the media and critics focused on Oxy’s decision to fire Antebi from his radio show, as if there were no more serious allegations against Oxy in this case. As I wrote in the first part of this series: What distinguishes this case, however, is the corrupt and dishonest campaign the university launched to defend its actions. After FIRE wrote Oxy President Ted Mitchell on March 30, the University Counsel responded on April 2 with a letter making some […]

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  • Oxy’s Bane

    March 23, 2005

    Jason Antebi, the former Occidental College student who is suing his alma mater for millions of dollars for unjustly convicting him of sexual harassment and running a shameful smear campaign against him, has posted the complaint in his case on his website. You can read it in PDF or in Word format. Take a look at the complaint for yourself, or read about it on FIRE’s website, and you will see the depths to which Occidental has sunk in order to defend its abuse of power over its students. In addition, the suit is starting to attract wider attention, with these […]

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  • FIRE Claims Oxy’s Blowing Smoke, Smearing Plaintiff in Censorship Suit

    March 21, 2005

    A former student has filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Occidental College in Los Angeles for allegedly censoring his speech and dissolving the student government. Last year, Occidental fired Jason Antebi, the host of a popular student radio program and found him guilty of sexual harassment due to satirical remarks he made when joking about two student senators on the air. In turn Antebi has filed suit against the school for $10 million, claiming Occidental violated California’s Leonard’s Law, which ensures free speech to students at private colleges. Greg Lukianoff is with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), […]

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  • Occidental College’s Ongoing Shame: Part 6

    March 18, 2005

    Well, I can’t say I am that surprised, but the Los Angeles Times has let it readers down yet again in its coverage of the Oxy case. Stuart Silverstein, the author of the first disappointing and deferential article, has written a short, anemic article that ignores many of the most important aspects of the case. As I mentioned before, Los Angeles is largely a one-paper town. The lack of serious local coverage of this case is one of the reasons that this case has gone on so long. I can virtually guarantee that if the Times had bothered to follow […]

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  • Student Files Multi-Million Dollar Lawsuit Against Occidental College After College Censored Speech and Dissolved Student Government

    March 15, 2005

    Big news in the Occidental College case! LOS ANGELES, March 15, 2005—Today, former student Jason Antebi sued Occidental College in Los Angeles for millions of dollars for maliciously violating his basic rights and those of the entire student community. In spring 2004, Occidental administrators fired Antebi from his position as host of a popular student radio program and found him guilty of sexual harassment for satirical jokes he made on the air. Occidental then used the controversy as a pretext for dissolving the entire student government (of which Antebi was a vice president) and assuming control of nearly half a million […]

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  • Student Files Multi-Million Dollar Lawsuit Against Occidental College After College Censored Speech and Dissolved Student Government

    March 15, 2005

    LOS ANGELES, March 15, 2005—Today, former student Jason Antebi sued Occidental College in Los Angeles for millions of dollars for maliciously violating his basic rights and those of the entire student community. In spring 2004, Occidental administrators fired Antebi from his position as host of a popular student radio program and found him guilty of sexual harassment for satirical jokes he made on the air. Occidental then used the controversy as a pretext for dissolving the entire student government (of which Antebi was a vice president) and assuming control of nearly half a million dollars in funding from student fees. […]

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  • Occidental College’s Ongoing Shame: Part 5

    March 11, 2005

    If you have been following my series on Occidental College’s ruthless treatment of its students, I hope you can see that, if nothing else, this is a very interesting story. After all, it involves censorship, a cover-up, official proclamations dissolving the elected student government, a national controversy over the policy of the ACLU, not to mention adult content, adult situations, and strong language. One might think the media would jump on such a juicy story, but, at least at first, the media response was quite disappointing. Los Angeles is, after all, largely a one-paper town. The Los Angeles Times’ initial […]

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  • ACLU Vice President Dismisses Occidental College’s Claim that Its Censorship Was Consistent with ACLU Policies

    March 11, 2005

    I sent our esteemed friend and Board of Directors member Michael Meyers my post from this morning in which I explain how Occidental College in Los Angeles has publicly stated that its censorship of a student is consistent with ACLU policies. Showing stunning arrogance, the General Counsel of Oxy continued to claim to be acting consistently with ACLU policy despite being told, in no uncertain terms, by the ACLU of Southern California that it was not. This is what Michael has to say: Dear Greg: As you know, I have been on the National ACLU Board for over 23 years, […]

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  • Occidental College’s Ongoing Shame: Part 4

    March 11, 2005

    So far we in this series we have covered Occidental College’s violation of student Jason Antebi’s free speech rights, its ruthless and dishonest campaign to justify its actions, and how it used this incident as an excuse to dissolve the entire student government. This installment deals with the ACLU of Southern California’s involvement in the case and Occidental College General Counsel Sandra Cooper’s incredible assertion that her interpretation of ACLU policy is more accurate than that of the managing attorney of the ACLU of Southern California! As you may recall, in her response to FIRE, Cooper claimed that the ACLU’s definition […]

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  • Occidental College’s Ongoing Shame: Part 3

    March 9, 2005

    In my previous installments I recounted Occidental College in Los Angeles’ remarkable attempts to punish student Jason Antebi for his speech, and its administrators’ truly stunning attempts to justify that punishment after the fact. In today’s installment we will cover another shocking side of the Oxy case: the administration’s use of the controversy around Jason Antebi as an excuse to dissolve the student government. As we noted in our 28-page letter rebutting Occidental College General Counsel Sandra Cooper’s dishonest letter to FIRE: On March 30, 2004, Occidental President Ted Mitchell announced that he had decided to dissolve ASOC (Associated Students […]

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  • Occidental College’s Ongoing Shame: Part 2

    March 4, 2005

    In my previous post I explained how a little less than a year ago, Occidental College student radio host Jason Antebi was fired from his job and found guilty of sexual harassment for mocking fellow members of the student government on air. When last we left off FIRE had just responded to a letter from Occidental College’s General Counsel, Sandra Cooper, with a 28-page letter outlining all the different ways the attorney had blatantly misrepresented the law and the facts of the case. We concluded the letter by saying: We urge you to undo your findings against of Antebi as […]

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  • Occidental College’s Ongoing Shame: Part 1

    March 1, 2005

    One year ago this month, Occidental College radio show host Jason Antebi hosted his popular radio show Rant and Rave for the very last time. In this last show he mocked two student representatives who had previously tried to have him impeached from his student government position. The student representatives filed sexual harassment charges against him, the dean of students fired him from his radio show over the objections of the radio station’s student management, and the College found him guilty of violating federal sexual harassment laws. As shocking as this turn of events may be, it is hardly novel […]

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  • $10 Million Lawsuit Alleges Violation of Free Speech

    March 1, 2005

    Jason Antebi ’04 filed a $10 million civil suit against Occidental in March, alleging that his free speech rights were violated and his reputation tarnished last year when he was removed from his student radio show and subjected to discipline. Antebi claims he should have been allowed to continue to broadcast “Rant and Rave” on student radio station KOXY, and that student complaints about the show that triggered the discipline were politically motivated—the result of his actions as vice president for policy for Associated Students of Occidental College. The Northridge resident, who graduated last May with a B.A. in politics, […]

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  • Oxy Caught in the Crossfire

    October 13, 2004

    Over the past five months civil-libertarian groups and Occidental College administrators have been engaged in an often-heated struggle over one student’s alleged violation of the College’s Sexual Harassment Policy. What started as a debate-by-letters over the legal definition of sexual harassment has escalated into a disagreement over the very facts of the case. While the administration eventually cut off contact with civil-libertarian groups, the organizations have continued to write letters, conduct parallel investigations and attract as much media attention as possible. Their hope: to force Occidental to overturn its decision. As a student, Jason Antebi has a reputation as one […]

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  • Dark times for student rights

    October 6, 2004

    Despite the uproar about the Federal Communications Commission’s aggressive attempts to clean up America’s airwaves, a shocking case of censorship that recently occurred in California has garnered precious little attention. What makes this case even more distressing is that it originated in a medium where one would expect free speech to be sacrosanct: college radio. Jason Antebi, a senior at Occidental College in Los Angeles, not only lost his job at the student radio station, but was also found guilty by campus officials of “sexual harassment” for the content of his radio show. Antebi’s show was one of the station’s […]

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  • Breaking the Silence

    September 29, 2004

    Editor’s note: Last month, we ran an article entitled, “Backlash 101,” by GNN contributor Joshua Holland, editor of USC’s progressive paper, The Trojan Horse. Holland argued that heavily-funded conservative groups were taking advantage of an anti-political correctness backlash to make political gains among impressionable college students across the country. Not everyone agreed with Holland’s analysis. Minnie Quach, a program officer at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a group mentioned by Holland as having ties to powerful conservatives, contacted us with an alternative view. Here Quach argues that Holland painted a much too simplistic picture of the political […]

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  • Occidental College’s Censorship of Radio Station Marks Abuse of Power

    September 22, 2004

    Despite the uproar about the Federal Communication Commission’s aggressive attempts to clean up America’s airwaves, a shocking case of censorship that recently occurred in Southern California has garnered precious little attention. What makes this case even more distressing is that it originated in a medium in which one would expect free speech to be sacrosanct: college radio. Jason Antebi, a senior at Occidental College in Los Angeles, not only lost his job at the student radio station but also was found guilty by campus officials of sexual harassment for the content of his radio show. Antebi’s show was one of […]

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  • Freedom of speech: RIC ends the inquisition, not the debate

    September 22, 2004

    BROOKLYN, N.Y. ON SEPT. 9, Rhode Island College tried to weasel out of an embarrassing free-speech controversy, in which it had tried a professor for doing nothing more than refusing to violate the First Amendment. And though RIC’s decision not to proceed with “further formal action” against the professor was welcome, it did nothing to convince civil-liberties watchdogs that free speech is secure at RIC. The professor, Lisa Church, was coordinator of RIC’s cooperative preschool. In February, a pupil’s mother went to her and alleged that in a private conversation another parent (both are students at RIC) had expressed racist […]

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  • Occidental College Ruthlessly Suppresses Free Speech

    July 15, 2004

    LOS ANGELES, July 15, 2004—Showing profound contempt for free speech, Occidental College in Los Angeles has fired the student host of a popular student radio program and found him guilty of sexual harassment due to satirical jokes made on the air. Occidental also used this controversy as a pretext for the unprecedented decision to dissolve its entire student government and assume control of nearly half a million dollars in funds from student fees. Occidental then began a campaign of false accusations and distortions to justify, after the fact, its illiberal actions. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which […]

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  • FIRE Letter to Occidental College Board of Trustees, June 4, 2004

    June 4, 2004

    June 4, 2004   Mrs. Catherine Young Selleck Chair, Occidental College Board of Trustees Three Oliver Court Menlo Park, California  94025   Dear Chairwoman Selleck, The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) works on behalf of liberty, legal equality, freedom of religion, academic freedom, due process, and freedom of speech and expression on America’s college campuses.  We write to you and the other members of the Occidental College Board of Trustees today to inform you of a situation on Occidental’s campus which indicates possible serious misconduct by Occidental’s administration, exposes the college to legal liability, and threatens the very […]

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  • FIRE Letter to Occidental College President Ted Mitchell, March 30, 2004

    March 30, 2004

    March 30, 2004   Ted Mitchell, President Occidental College Office of the President 1600 Campus Road Los Angeles, CA 90041   URGENT   Sent By U.S. Mail and Facsimile (323-259-2907)   Dear President Mitchell,   As you can see from our Directors and Board of Advisors, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) unites leaders in the fields of civil rights and civil liberties, scholars, journalists, and public intellectuals across the political and ideological spectrum on behalf of liberty, legal equality, freedom of religion, academic freedom, and—in the case of Jason Antebi—freedom of speech and expression on America’s college […]

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