Occidental College

Location: Los Angeles, California
Type: Private
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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
  • Occidental College Sexual Misconduct Policy

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: July 20, 2018

    “Harassment” is conduct that creates an intimidating, offensive, or hostile working or learning environment or that unreasonably interferes with work or academic performance based on a person’s protected status, including sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. All such conduct is unlawful. “... Read More
  • Student Affairs: Discrimination, Harassment, & Retaliation

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: July 20, 2018

    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. If you prefer to submit your report in person, you can go directly to the Dea... Read More
  • Student Handbook: Posting and Publicity Policy

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
    Last updated: July 20, 2018

    Distribution of handbills may occur in the JSC or Academic quads only. Read More
  • Student Handbook: Appropriate Use Policy

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: July 20, 2018

    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. Read More
  • Student Handbook: Code of Student Conduct- Rules and Regulations

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: July 20, 2018

    The following, while not exhaustive, represents behavior 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
  • Student Handbook: Right to Dissent and Demonstration Policy

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: July 20, 2018

    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. […] Occidental College respects the righ... Read More
  • Student Handbook: Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: July 20, 2018

    “Harassment” is conduct that creates an intimidating, offensive, or hostile working or learning environment, or that unreasonably interferes with work or academic performance based on a person’s protected class, including race, color, national origin, ancestry, age, religious belief, marital status, physical or ment... Read More
  • OCR’s Occidental Findings Letter Accepts Reduced Sanctions as Attempt at Due Process

    June 13, 2016

    Last week, Occidental College entered into a resolution agreement with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, concluding OCR’s investigation of the college’s sexual misconduct policies and practices. OCR found insufficient evidence that Occidental violated Title IX, “except with respect to the issue of promptness in several cases during the 2012-13 school year.” The… Read more

  • Reason TV Interviews Occidental College Students About Microaggressions, Support for Free Speech

    December 9, 2015

    In the wake of student protests centered on campus racism, students have issued demands—and some college faculty are eager to expand on them with a new speech-monitoring reporting system. Occidental College, which FIRE has written about before, is now considering implementing a formal system for students to report “microaggressions” they claim to have experienced on… Read more

  • FIRE Warns Occidental Against Proposal to Create ‘Institutional Orthodoxy’

    November 25, 2015

    In a letter sent yesterday, FIRE urged the faculty governance board at Occidental College to reconsider a resolution that, if implemented, would seriously harm the free speech, academic freedom, and freedom of conscience rights of Occidental’s faculty. The draft resolution, proposed by the college’s Faculty Council and scheduled for an intra-council vote on December 1,… Read more

  • ‘Esquire’ Details Egregious Failures of Occidental Sexual Assault Case

    March 27, 2015

    Last summer, FIRE reported on a stunning case in which Occidental College in California expelled a student—identifying himself only as “John Doe”—for an alleged sexual assault despite significant exculpatory evidence. Many factors contributed to the unfairness of John’s hearing, and Richard Dorment provides a thorough account of the case in an article for Esquire published… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • ‘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.

  • 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.

  • 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… Read more

  • 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… Read more

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

    July 9, 2013

    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… Read more

  • ‘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’… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • (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… Read more

  • ‘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…. Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • ‘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… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • ‘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… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • 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…. Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • $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… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • 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…. Read more

  • 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:… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • 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… Read more