Thursday, March 17, 2005

Is it a lie, or is it harassment? 

Last summer I posted a story about Jason Antebi, who at that time was a student at Occidental College in Los Angeles. He was bounced from his political talk radio show at the college station for "sexual and gender hostile environment harassment," which was considered then to be a violation of his academic freedom and of the Leonard Law, which is a California statute extending academic free speech to private college campuses. The school responded with an angry letter accusing Antebi of vandalism and harassing phone calls, which FIRE believes it refuted.

The story had been below the radar for months, and Antebi graduated from Oxy. But now he is suing his alma mater for millions of dollars. What they seek is a complete apology for the administration's attack on Antebi.
�While we seriously doubt that Jason would have been allowed to graduate without FIRE�s aid, Occidental has yet to repudiate its actions and its campaign of deception,� remarked FIRE Director of Legal and Public Advocacy Greg Lukianoff. �No student should be put through what he has had to suffer�and no student government should be dissolved on the pretense of �offensive� speech. With this lawsuit, we hope that college administrators and trustees at Occidental and across the nation will realize that they will be held accountable for their employees� abuses of power.�

As I noted last July, Antebi was hardly a model of decorum on his radio show, and a suspension of his show would have been appropriate if I was in charge of the station or an Oxy administrator. But if the charges of the April 2 letter (see page 3 infra) were false and the school does not repudiate the letter, Antebi has been viciously slandered and deserves his day in court.