Occidental College’s Ongoing Shame: Part 5
March 11, 2005
The Media Respond
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 coverage of the story was decent, but too deferential to the university, in my opinion. As it became clearer that Oxy officials had actually misrepresented facts in defending their actions, and they actually found Antebi guilty of harassment for protected speech, I made sure to send the Times my further correspondence with the college. Unfortunately, the Times did not see this story as important enough to warrant further coverage. I believe more critical coverage from the Times would have helped convince Oxy to resolve this case last year.
Occidental is hoping that by accusing Antebi of inciting violence, vandalism, and smearing him with charges of racism and sexism, that they can save themselves from further public embarrassment. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Instead, Occidental College is reminding us that there is a constitutional right to make an ass of oneself. And they are exercising that right to its fullest.
Mike’s piece certainly stung Oxy, but, I think some of the best coverage of the case came from within Oxy itself. Student Dane Muckler’s article in the Occidental Weekly did an excellent job explaining the case.
Also, Jason Antebi himself authored a great piece that summarizes the case in the Pasadena Star News. For my part, I have mentioned the ongoing case at Occidental in my Daily Journal column numerous times.
While the radio and the blogosphere have taken notice of the Antebi case, nothing could help this case more than increased scrutiny from the Los Angeles Times. I hope that, if there are further developments at Oxy, the Times will revisit this extraordinary case.
Stay tuned for my next installment. I promise it will be a doozy.