Orange Coast College Professors’ “Petition against Freedom”

A Note from FIRE:
Orange Coast College continues to try to spin its way out of the disgraceful
conduct of its administrators. Now, OCC’s Community Relations Office releases
to the media a “petition” signed by 24 professors. It speaks volumes that OCC
sends out a media release about two dozen professors, but did not release an
earlier petition signed by more than 340 of Hearlson’s students calling for
his vindication. Note well, the claim that Hearlson “entered into an agreement
with the administration to be removed from the classroom” is profoundly misleading.
Hearlson agreed to leave the college for a day when the administration told
him that his life was in danger.

Jim Carnett, Director
Community Relations Office
(714) 432-5725
(714) 432-5609 (fax)

For immediate release to all media:
Many of us, the undersigned faculty at Orange Coast College, are disturbed by recent negative characterizations of the academic environment at Orange Coast College.
We do not believe the decision for Ken Hearlson to leave the classroom for the semester created what our union president called a “chilling effect” on instruction or curtailed a provocative approach to teaching. Academic freedom is alive and well under our current administration.
We believe there is a strong possibility that Ken Hearlson exercised poor judgment in class, going beyond “shock teaching” to create a hostile environment in class.
Ken Hearlson entered into an agreement with the administration to be removed from the classroom, throwing doubt on whether his due process was violated.
We regard Ken Hearlson’s recent disparaging remarks to be an attempt to smear Orange Coast College’s reputation for his own personal benefit.

Faculty members signing the letter:
Cherryl BakerAnatomy and Physiology
Donna BarnardEnglish
Barbara BullardSpeech
Susan ColemanInterior Design
Christopher EvansEnglish/Honors Program
Donavan GaytanEnglish
Pam GressierEnglish
Laird HayesPhysical Education and Athletics
Valerie HaywardMathematics
Gary HoffmanEnglish
Glynis HoffmanEnglish
Darla E. KellyBiology
Dennis L. KellyMarine Biology
Peggy LanghansEnglish
Michael LeighSpeech
Elizabeth NetoliczkaSpanish
Kevin ParkerEnglishAcademic Senate Vice President
Irini Vallera-RickersonArt
Susana SalessiSpanish/Italian
Sarah SarkissianEnglish as a Second Language
Vinta ShumwayLibrarian
Dana WheatonMusic
Leigh Ann WeatherfordEnglish
Judith A. WolfeEnglish
The signatory in charge of circulating the petition beyond the College is Professor Dennis L. Kelly. He can be reached at