All classes at UCLA School of Law, and the rest of the university, will be held online after former lecturer and postdoctoral fellow Matthew Harris posted a video referencing a mass shooting and making specific threats against members of the philosophy department. As reported by the Los Angeles Times, a unified response from the university was lacking, with different departments canceling today’s in-person classes at different times — and well after Harris’s video and manifesto were circulating on social media.
Vice Dean David Marcus sent an email (available in full below) informing folks that in an “abundance of caution,” classes at the law school will be virtual today. But as a tipster reports, the response took some time:
The person who made the threat referenced specific members of UCLA’s philosophy department, which is located in Dodd Hall. The law school shares a courtyard with Dodd Hall and there are some law school office in that building. Students were aware and terrified about this threat for hours and we received no information or acknowledgment of the threat from admin until SBA sent an email to admin.
The Times describes the disturbing materials Harris sent to members of the UCLA philosophy department and posted online:
A video titled “UCLA PHILOSOPHY (MASS SHOOTING)” was posted Sunday and contained disturbing imagery, including footage of the 2017 mass shooting at a Las Vegas music festival and clips from the 2003 movie “Zero Day,” which is loosely based on the Columbine High School mass shooting.
The Times obtained a partial copy of Harris’ email to the UCLA philosophy department.
Harris makes references to race and uses several profanities. He included links to his manifesto and videos, including the video that appeared to threaten a mass shooting.
“da war is comin,” he wrote. “forward dis [expletive] to our tha goldhead caucasoid princess.”
Harris was placed on administrative leave by the university last year while the school investigated allegations he sent pornographic materials to a student.
A university spokesperson, Steve Ritea, said university police are aware of “a concerning email and posting sent to some members of the UCLA community today and actively engaged with out-of-state law enforcement and federal agencies.”
Kathryn Rubino is a Senior Editor at Above the Law, host of The Jabot podcast, and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. AtL tipsters are the best, so please connect with her. Feel free to email her with any tips, questions, or comments and follow her on Twitter (@Kathryn1).
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