The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) shifted to online classes on Tuesday after a former lecturer threatened several philosophy department faculty members in a video to the school.
Department heads began emailing faculty and students on Monday warning of the security threat and announcing that in-person classes would be moved online. The threat came from a former lecturer and postdoctoral fellow who, according to the university on Tuesday, is “under observation” and not in California, according to The Los Angeles Times.
“Nonetheless, out of an abundance of caution, all classes will be held remotely tomorrow, Feb 1,” the Tuesday notice said. “We will keep you updated on developments.”
UCLA spokesman Steve Ritea told the Daily Bruin that the University of California police department was working with other law enforcement agencies, including federal agents, to investigate the threat.
“UCPD is aware of a concerning email and posting sent to some members of the UCLA community today,” Ritea told the Daily Bruin. “We will keep the community informed as we learn more.”
One philosophy instructor’s email to students said that the threat against the school included “a video entitled ‘UCLA Philosophy Mass Shooting’ and an 800-page manifesto with specific threats towards some members of our department.”
“In light of this, we will continue to have discussion through Zoom until the authorities say that it is safe,” the email said. “I will keep you updated on this situation. But I would avoid being anywhere near Dodd Hall or the philosophy department until further notice.”
The man who made the threats against the university reportedly posted a video on mass shootings to his YouTube page, which has since been pulled from the site. According to The Times:
[The man’s] YouTube channel contained more than 300 videos, the majority of which were uploaded Monday. By midnight, the channel displayed a message saying that the account had been terminated.
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 also obtained a portion of the suspect’s email to the university:
The Times obtained a partial copy of [the man’s] email to the UCLA philosophy department.
[The man] 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.”
The ex-lecturer had apparently scared students before with his behavior.
“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,” student Nathan Robbins told ABC7.
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