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 college radio show whose very point was to ruffle feathers. Shortly after Mitchell?s actions, the college?s Title IX officer Maryanne Horowitz decided that one of Antebi?s broadcasts constituted sexual harassment against his entire audience. Horowitz?s ruling was issued in response to sexual harassment complaints from three students who were ?offended? by the content of Antebi?s Rant and Rave radio show.
Horowitz?s bizarre ruling was based exclusively on the perceived ?offensiveness? of Antebi?s radio show. Her ruling determined that radio hosts can sexually harass people they have never actually met. Furthermore, an entire audience can be harassed even if most of them weren?t aware that they were harassed. After all, she?s the Title IX officer. She knows about these things.
The three students who ?felt? that they were exposed to a ?hostile environment? claimed that Antebi showed ?disrespect and slander? against ?women, diversity, and Occidental? College. Two of the complainants were Antebi?s political rivals and a third was one of the rival?s friends.
The university has since found that Antebi committed ?sexual and gender hostile environment harassment.? The ?harassment? was deemed so serious that it overrides California?s Leonard Law, which says that free speech is guaranteed to students at private colleges and universities.
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