University of California at Los Angeles: Disciplinary Investigation of Student's Video
A YouTube video posted by a University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) college student that mocks the behavior of Asian students in the UCLA library and elsewhere generated 5 million views in the first week-and a free speech controversy. After UCLA officials announced an investigation of the video for possible charges including harassment, FIRE sent UCLA Chancellor Gene D. Block a letter on Tuesday, March 15, 2011, urging him to end any investigation of Wallace's speech because the content of the video is protected by the First Amendment. UCLA announced on March 18 that it had dropped the investigation, and the student announced shortly afterward that she would be leaving UCLA due to "the harassment of my family, the publishing of my personal information, death threats, and being ostracized from an entire community."
- "UCLA Vice Chancellor of Legal Affairs Kevin S. Reed Response to FIRE, March 31, 2011," March 31, 2011
- "UCLA Student Will Not Be Punished for YouTube Rant; Announces She Will Leave UCLA Following Threats," March 21, 2011: In a victory for the First Amendment, officials at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) announced late on Friday, March 18, that UCLA had dropped its disciplinary investigation of student Alexandra Wallace's "Asians in the Library" YouTube video. Following UCLA's announcement, however, Wallace released a statement apologizing and indicating that she was leaving UCLA for "personal safety reasons," including threats against her and her family.
- "Alexandra Wallace apologizes, announces she will no longer attend UCLA," Daily Bruin, March 18, 2011
- "Statement of Janina Montero, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs," UCLA Newsroom, March 18, 2011
- "FIRE Letter to UCLA Chancellor Gene D. Block, March 15, 2011 ," March 15, 2011
- "UPDATED: Viral YouTube video called "repugnant" by UCLA administration," Daily Bruin, March 13, 2011
- "'Swallowing Some Horse Pills For Liberty'," April 1, 2011
- "Greg in 'LA Times' on UCLA Student Video Case and the Role of Social Media in Combating Controversial Speech," by Jordan Fischetti, March 28, 2011
- "Breaking News: UCLA Will Not Punish Student for Video," by William Creeley, March 18, 2011: The Los Angeles Times reports that University of California, Los Angeles, will not punish student Alexandra Wallace for her "Asians in the Library" YouTube video. In a letter sent on Tuesday, FIRE urged UCLA Chancellor Gene D. Block to end its investigation of the matter, as the content of the video was protected by the First Amendment.
- "This Week in the News: UCLA Launches, Ends Harassment Investigation of 'Asians in the Library' YouTube Video," by Joanna Brenner, March 18, 2011
- "'New York Times' Editorial Board: Campus Free Speech Crucial for Education, Democracy," by William Creeley, March 18, 2011: In an eloquent articulation of the importance of free expression on college campuses, The New York Times published an editorial today arguing that UCLA student Alexandra Wallace should not be disciplined for harassment as a result of her "Asians in the Library" video. The editorial argues that although Wallace's speech was racist and should be criticized, the Times emphasizes that UCLA "would do a great disservice to itself and the First Amendment if it goes ahead and disciplines her for the content of her words." The editorial notes that while anti-harassment policies are properly invoked against "real harassment," they "should not be used to abridge the principle of free speech"—an abuse which poses "a far greater threat to education and to a strong democracy."
- "The Power of Parody and Counter-Speech: Student Reaction to Alexandra Wallace's Rant Video," by Erica Goldberg, March 16, 2011
- "Why Doesn't FIRE Condemn This Viewpoint I Hate?," by Robert Shibley, March 16, 2011
- "Eugene Volokh on UCLA Video: Moronic, but Protected," by William Creeley, March 16, 2011
- "UCLA Administrator Equates Offensive Speech, Death Threats," by Samantha Harris, March 16, 2011
- "FIRE Intervenes in UCLA 'Asians in the Library' Case," March 15, 2011
- "UCLA Student's 'Asians in the Library' Video Not Discriminatory Harassment," by Robert Shibley, March 15, 2011: A YouTube video posted by a University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) college student irritated by the behavior of Asian students in the UCLA library and elsewhere has generated more than 4 million views—and a growing free speech controversy. While it's easy to see why many find the video offensive, the student's speech does not rise to the level of punishable discriminatory harassment. In fact, the incident provides an object lesson on how social pressure and counter-speech can do far more to address "offensive" speech than official censorship. FIRE has sent a letter to UCLA Chancellor Gene D. Block urging him to bring a quick end to UCLA's disciplinary investigation of the video. (Updated 3/17/11.)
- "Swallowing Some Horse Pills For Liberty,"
by Donna Martinez, Carolina Journal Online, April 1, 2011
- "When students' controversial words go viral, what is the university's role?,"
by Rick Rojas, Los Angeles Times, March 27, 2011
- "UCLA won't discipline creator of controversial video, who later withdraws from university,"
by Rick Rojas and Larry Gordon, Los Angeles Times, March 19, 2011
- "UCLA Student Off Hook for Video Rant Against Asians,"
by Staff Editorial, ABC News, March 18, 2011
- "First Amendment protects ‘Asians in the library’ video, group reminds UCLA,"
by Steven Nelson, The Daily Caller, March 16, 2011