UCLA to take no action against student for controversial video
Amid a debate about free speech in the Internet era, UCLA announced Friday that it would not proceed with any investigation or disciplinary action against the student who produced a controversial online video in which she complained about Asian students' behavior and crudely mimicked Asian languages.
"While we were appalled and offended by the sentiments expressed in the video, we have uncovered no facts to lead us to believe the student code of conduct was violated. The campus has no intention of pursuing the matter further," UCLA spokesman Phil Hampton said in a telephone interview Friday.
The campus code prohibits students from making specific threats against anyone and forbids racial or sexual harassment that is severe or pervasive enough that it impairs another person's participation in university life. The video by Alexandra Wallace, a third-year political science major, did not meet those standards, he said.
First Amendment activists said they were pleased with UCLA's decision and said that other colleges should act similarly, as other students elsewhere are certain at times to post silly and offensive things on YouTube and Facebook. However, some said UCLA should not have announced earlier in the week that it was looking into possible discipline, and that UCLA Chancellor Gene Block should not have issued a statement denouncing the video.
Wallace, who could not be reached for comment Friday, has apologized for the video in a statement to UCLA's Daily Bruin student newspaper. In the video, posted after the devastating Japanese earthquake, Wallace complained about Asian students using their cellphones in the library as they sought information about the earthquake and relatives in the quake zone.
She has reportedly received death threats and been ridiculed in counter-videos and online comments. Hampton said university police are looking into those threats and that the campus had given her a secure way to take her final exams this week, but he declined to say what those security measures entailed.
-- Larry Gordon
Photo: UCLA's Royce Hall. Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times