A former UCLA lecturer and postdoctoral fellow was reportedly taken into custody in Boulder, Colorado, after allegedly sending threats to university faculty that caused in-person classes to be canceled Tuesday.
The man, identified by the Los Angeles Times as Matthew Harris, is accused of sending members of the philosophy department an 800-page “manifesto” along with a video containing “specific threats.”
Harris titled his screed “DEATH Sentences.”
An email sent to students by a philosophy instructor warned that Harris’s messages also included “a video entitled ‘UCLA Philosophy Mass Shooting’ and an 800-page manifesto with specific threats towards some members of our department.”
On Tuesday, authorities informed UCLA that the person who had made threats is “under observation” and not in California.
“Nonetheless,” the alert continued, “out of an abundance of caution, all classes will be held remotely tomorrow, Feb 1. We will keep you updated on developments.”
Harris’s YouTube channel, which has since been taken down, featured 300 videos, most of which had been posted on Monday. The “UCLA PHILOSOPHY (MASS SHOOTING)” video contained footage of the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas that killed 60 people, as well as clips from the movie Zero Day, which was inspired by the Columbine High School murders.
In one email, Harris wrote, “da war is comin. forward dis [expletive] to our tha goldhead caucasoid princess.”
At bruinwalk.com, where students anonymously rate their professors and other faculty, Harris fared poorly.
“this professor is extremely unprofessional and has sent his personal p*rnographic content to a student,” wrote one user last March.
“Easily my least favorite class at ucla ever,” another attested in October, 2020. “This was a class on music and personal identity, and he made the final a 16 page essay all about race in America, a topic that was not discussed at all in class. In addition he made us research it and cite papers that had nothing to do with anything relating to music.”
According to the Daily Bruin, Harris was placed on leave last spring while UCLA investigated allegations that he sent a video containing pornographic content to a student. His postdoctoral status was set to expire at the end of June 2021, although that was unrelated to the pornography investigation.
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