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UCLA announced Tuesday that all classes will be held remotely after halting in-person classes on Monday due to troubling threats reportedly made by a former postdoctoral fellow.
Matthew Harris allegedly sent an expletive-ridden email to UCLA’s philosophy department, threatening to hurt faculty and staff, according to ABC 7 Los Angeles.
The email from Harris allegedly included an 800-page manifesto and the ABC affiliate reported that he “posted hundreds of videos online Monday, including one showing video of the mass shooting in Las Vegas and the massacre at Columbine High School.”
“UCPD is actively working with out-of-state & federal agencies on threats sent to some members of our community. We do not have specific information that this individual is in CA. Out of an abundance of caution, all classes will be held remotely Feb 1. We will keep you updated,” UCLA posted on its Twitter account.
UCPD is actively working with out-of-state & federal agencies on threats sent to some members of our community. We do not have specific information that this individual is in CA. Out of an abundance of caution, all classes will be held remotely Feb 1. We will keep you updated.
— UCLA (@UCLA) February 1, 2022
“UCLA Police Department is 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,” UCLA also stated.
In a later email, the school said, “Out-of-state law enforcement has confirmed the person who made threats to UCLA is under observation & not in CA. Classes will remain remote today.”
Out-of-state law enforcement has confirmed the person who made threats to UCLA is under observation & not in CA. Classes will remain remote today.
— UCLA (@UCLA) February 1, 2022
Somewhat ironic, students staged a sit-in on Monday unrelated to the threat demanding continued online learning options because of the current Omicron variant-drive COVID-19 surge.
A philosophy instructor reportedly sent an email to students warning them that Harris had shown “highly erratic behavior,” noting that “threatening communications and online activity caused great distress last spring.”
“The material includes a video entitled ‘UCLA Philosophy Mass Shooting’ and an 800-page manifesto with specific threats towards some members of our department,” the email said, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“In light of this, we will continue to have discussion through Zoom until the authorities say that it is safe,” the message added. “I will keep you updated on this situation. But I would avoid being anywhere near Dodd Hall or the philosophy department until further notice.”
Students who have seen the videos posted by Harris told ABC7 his actions are extremely concerning.
“The list just goes on and on about the Mandalay Bay shooting, school shootings, mass shootings, concert shootings,” one student said. “I think … he’s a very disturbed guy obviously, and I hope he gets the help he needs and he doesn’t hurt anyone around him.”
Harris makes references to race in his email, according to the LA Times, writing: “da war is comin,” and saying “forward dis [expletive] to our tha goldhead caucasoid princess.”
“F**k integration, it didn’t work,” he reportedly said in one of his videos.
He was placed on leave last spring while UCLA investigated allegations that he sent a video containing pornographic content to a student,” the Daily Bruin reported, adding that his postdoctoral status was designated to expire at the end of June 2021.
Student Nathan Robbins told the affiliate: “I’ve been scared about this professor, this guy, for about a year since my girlfriend told me about the stories — how he treated their class, but also the threats he made after he got put on leave.”
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