Student in Video, UCLA Comment on “Asians in the Library”   Leave a comment

UPDATE: Alexandra Wallace produced a new apology, this time aimed at the “entire Asian culture” and says she will no longer attend UCLA.

Email from UCLA Chancellor Gene Block:

Title: Respect And Integrity: UCLA Values

To the Campus Community: I am appalled by the thoughtles­s and hurtful comments of a UCLA student posted on YouTube. Like many of you, I recoil when someone invokes the right of free expression to demean other individual­s or groups.This one act certainly does not represent the views of our UCLA community. Our community is built on mutual respect and civility, and we are committed to fostering an environmen­t that values and supports every member of the community. It is most unfortunat­e that a single clip on the Internet undermines that environmen­t by expressing hurtful and shameful ideas about others in our community. I believe that speech that expresses intoleranc­e toward any group of people on the basis of race or gender, or sexual, religious or cultural identity is indefensib­le and has no place at UCLA.Let this incident serve as a reminder of our collective responsibi­lity to confront hateful and ignorant speech and to uphold UCLA’s core values of respect and integrity.
Sincerely,Gene D. Block
Chancellor Block doesn’t mention any punishment, which I still doubt can be carried out legally. And while he predictably condemns the student’s racist rant, he does not mention the ugly attacks aimed at her in response. It cannot be that he is unaware of that element, so I find not mentioning it to be cowardly, wanting only to do what he thinks will pacify the offended without confronting behavior just as abhorrent amongst some responders as the original video. In any case, Block must be really happy the quarter ends in four days. Nothing like a week off to cool the passions. Worked at UCSD last year, that was after 6 weeks of protests.
The Daily Bruin has a statement from the student in the video, identify confirmed:
“Clearly the original video posted by me was inappropriate. I cannot explain what possessed me to approach the subject as I did, and if I could undo it, I would. I’d like to offer my apology to the entire UCLA campus. For those who cannot find it within them to accept my apology, I understand.”
To her credit, it sounds like she wrote it herself without legal counsel. To her discredit, she doesn’t distinguish herself as a particularly strong writer, once again representing UCLA poorly, and she seems to have left out quite a few people in only apologizing to the UCLA campus. But the apology does sound sincere, and she’s probably not a bad person, just was frustrated and chose a target within eye shot. Still hearing lots of calls for her expulsion, and punishment is not off the table.
In the same Daily Bruin article linked above, Vice Chancellor Robert Naples “called the video ‘beyond distasteful’ and reaffirmed that the student’s views do not reflect the views of UCLA. That’s pretty boring and predictable. What he said that was interesting concerned possible further action.
“We’ll be taking a look at the language that she uses in the video to see if it violates any codes under the student code, perhaps regarding harassment,” Naples said. However, the student code in no way usurps the authority of the First Amendment, Naples said.
I smell lies. I don’t see how he can possibly claim “harassment” against the student for recording a video with non-violent racist remarks in her own apartment, and posting it on the internet. She harassed these students by having an opinion? Come on, man. Harassment is aggressive and violent, bringing hostility to people directly, not putting it out there for them to find, voluntarily consume, and respond to. She never forced anyone to watch her video, so whoever watched it did it of their own accord. That’s not harassment, people choosing to to view something they should reasonably expect to be offensive. A “harassment” charge would be outrageous.
And about the student code not usurping the authority of the First Amendment. If it doesn’t then why don’t you just go on and say no punishment under the student code will be pursued? Because what she did was perfectly legal under the First Amendment. This Naples guy is a sneak and a liar. I can only suppose what he means is that he’ll try to prosecute the student not under speech code violations, but under ‘harassment’ which doesn’t concretely fall under the First Amendment exactly. So punish her for expressing herself in essence, but attempt a legal prosecution that tries to make a non-First Amendment-affiliated charge stick.
Clearly the student in the video doesn’t represent whatever UCLA’s stated principles are and her opinions can’t be attributed to any other person at UCLA except for her. But as a UCLA student, she is a representative of UCLA. UCLA admitted her, and doesn’t seem to have any legal grounds of expelling her, so they’re kinda stuck with her. At the least, it’s attributable to a flawed admissions process, and given the number of applicants and administrative costs, a flawed admissions process is understandable. But if UCLA takes credit for being associated with any student that goes on to win a Nobel Prize or whatever, they own the ‘accomplishments’ of this student as well. It doesn’t reflect on other individuals affiliated with UCLA, but UCLA bears some responsibility for the students they accepted into their school.

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