University of California at Los Angeles: Disciplinary Investigation of Student’s Video

Category: Free Speech
Schools: University of California, Los Angeles

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.”

  • Swallowing Some Horse Pills For Liberty

    April 1, 2011

    RALEIGH - I once heard a priest remind parishioners that being faithful to religious teaching is tough. There are truths we’d rather avoid, and sometimes we have to swallow some horse pills along the way, he said. He pointed to the pesky requirement to forgive others when we’d rather indulge our emotion and hold a grudge. I use those words of wisdom as a guidepost to my beliefs, whether religious, political, or constitutional. They were just what I needed last month when I learned the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals had overturned the Stolen Valor Act, which made it a […]

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  • UCLA won’t discipline creator of controversial video, who later withdraws from university

    March 19, 2011

    Alexandra Wallace, who complained about Asian students’ behavior in the video, says she’s leaving the school because of death threats. In a statement released to the Daily Bruin, she apologizes and calls the video a mistake. by Rick Rojas and Larry Gordon Los Angeles Times   UCLA announced Friday that it would not discipline or further investigate the student who released a controversial online video in which she complained about Asian students’ behavior and mimicked an Asian language. But later in the day, the student, Alexandra Wallace, announced that she was withdrawing from UCLA because of death threats and because […]

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  • UCLA Student Off Hook for Video Rant Against Asians

    March 18, 2011

    UCLA student Alexandra Wallace, whose viral video rant about Asians sparked outrage and a nationwide debate about whether her disparaging remarks were considered “free speech,” will face no disciplinary action by the university. “While some of the sentiments that were expressed in the video were hurtful, appalling and offensive, we have not uncovered any acts that violated the student code of conduct,” university spokesman Phil Hampton told ABCNews.com today. “We have no intention of pursuing the matter further.” Hampton added that the university “zealously protects freedom of expression, however misugided or offensive to our core values that speech may be.” […]

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  • First Amendment protects ‘Asians in the library’ video, group reminds UCLA

    March 16, 2011

    UCLA student Alexandra Wallace, who posted on Friday a video to YouTube that mocked Asian students, has been met with ridicule herself. In addition to flood of video responses posted online, the university’s administration indicated to The Daily Bruin, the student newspaper, that there was a disciplinary investigation underway. Robert Naples, UCLA’s associate vice chancellor and dean of students, told The Bruin, “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.” Wallace apologized in a statement to The Bruin. “Clearly the […]

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  • ‘Swallowing Some Horse Pills For Liberty’

    April 1, 2011

    Over at the John Locke Foundation’s Carolina Journal Online, Donna Martinez reminds readers, with the help of FIRE President Greg Lukianoff, that even speech with which one disagrees can be an integral part of discourse, as the cases of Alexandra Wallace and Snyder v. Phelps remind us.

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  • Greg in ‘LA Times’ on UCLA Student Video Case and the Role of Social Media in Combating Controversial Speech

    March 28, 2011

    Controversy struck the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) this month when student Alexandra Wallace posted a YouTube video in which she complained about the behavior of Asian students in the campus library. Fortunately, instead of punishing her for her protected expression, which happens too often at our colleges and universities, UCLA ultimately (after some initial hiccoughs) encouraged dialogue instead of discipline. Additionally, the use of social media spurred national discussion about this case, in which the use of video played a prominent role.  Rick Rojas, writing for the Los Angeles Times, reported Greg’s opinion on how the use of social media […]

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  • When students’ controversial words go viral, what is the university’s role?

    March 27, 2011

    A YouTube video by a UCLA student and an email circulated among USC fraternity members quickly spread off campus, illustrating a challenge for school administrations. by Rick Rojas Los Angeles Times   View this article at Los Angeles Times.

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  • UCLA Student Will Not Be Punished for YouTube Rant; Announces She Will Leave UCLA Following Threats

    March 21, 2011

    LOS ANGELES, Mar. 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. “We are pleased that UCLA will not attempt to punish Alexandra Wallace for her constitutionally protected speech. The cure for ‘bad’ speech is ‘better’ speech, and the outpouring of parody and criticism of Wallace’s […]

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  • Breaking News: UCLA Will Not Punish Student for Video

    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: “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 […]

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  • This Week in the News: UCLA Launches, Ends Harassment Investigation of ‘Asians in the Library’ YouTube Video

    March 18, 2011

    It’s no mystery that the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has been a major source of campus free speech news this week. Student Alexandra Wallace was put under investigation for harassment after she took to YouTube to complain about the behavior of Asian students in the campus library where she studies—a video that has now generated more than 4.7 million views. In response to UCLA’s investigation, FIRE pointed out on our blog and in a letter to UCLA Chancellor Gene D. Block that Wallace’s speech does not rise to the level of punishable discriminatory harassment. These arguments were picked up on […]

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  • ‘New York Times’ Editorial Board: Campus Free Speech Crucial for Education, Democracy

    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.”    Quoting UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh’s recent blog entry on Wallace, the Times writes: On […]

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  • Alexandra Wallace apologizes, announces she will no longer attend UCLA

    March 18, 2011

    Alexandra Wallace announced she will no longer be attending UCLA in an apology letter released to the Daily Bruin on Friday. Wallace, the creator of the “Asians in the Library” video that went viral last Sunday, released a statement through a spokesman for the Wallace family. The letter comes the day UCLA announced that it will not take action against Wallace for the video. Below is Wallace’s full letter: In an attempt to produce a humorous YouTube video, I have offended the UCLA community and the entire Asian culture. I am truly sorry for the hurtful words I said and […]

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  • The Power of Parody and Counter-Speech: Student Reaction to Alexandra Wallace’s Rant Video

    March 16, 2011

    In the wake of the controversy surrounding the “Asians in the Library” video posted recently by UCLA student Alexandra Wallace, students and others have begun posting parodies—and they’ve quickly become hugely popular. Indeed, Wallace’s video rant, which contains entirely protected speech, has unleashed a torrent of creativity aimed at debunking stereotypes of Asians, rebutting Wallace, and mocking her views. Here’s a good example: a catchy mock-love song to Wallace with lyrics like “ching chong, it means I love you.” Despite being posted just yesterday, it’s already been viewed more than 160,000 times: Another video response uses hyperbole to skewer Wallace’s […]

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  • Why Doesn’t FIRE Condemn This Viewpoint I Hate?

    March 16, 2011

    I’d like to take some time once again to address a criticism that FIRE sometimes receives: that we don’t denounce the actual viewpoint of speech that people find to be offensive, racist, sexist, etc., with sufficient vehemence while we’re in the process of defending the fundamental right of Americans to say such things. That suggestion has been raised with regard to my blog post from yesterday about the UCLA “Asians in the Library” video, and the subtext of it seems to be that FIRE is, in the end, sort of OK with racism, hate, or what-have-you. While this accusation is […]

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  • Eugene Volokh on UCLA Video: Moronic, but Protected

    March 16, 2011

    University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law professor and noted First Amendment scholar Eugene Volokh has weighed in on the controversy surrounding the “Asians in the Library” YouTube video recently posted by UCLA student Alexandra Wallace. Citing both FIRE’s letter to UCLA and Robert’s blog post on the subject, Volokh concludes that Wallace’s speech is “clearly constitutionally protected,” as well as “moronic.” Although he deems the views expressed to be “nonsense,” Volokh argues that punishing this speech would open the door to punishing much other speech. He writes: The premise of the American university (and, I think, American […]

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  • UCLA Administrator Equates Offensive Speech, Death Threats

    March 16, 2011

    The UCLA student who posted the “Asians in the Library” video has apparently received death threats. If you want to understand what FIRE is up against when fighting censorship on campus, look no further than the response of UCLA Dean of Students Robert Naples to those threats. As our Robert Shibley noted yesterday, Naples told the student newspaper that “If she’s received a death threat, I find that as deplorable as her original YouTube video.” (Emphasis added.) That’s right: a high-level administrator at UCLA has gone on the record that offensive but protected speech is the moral equivalent of a […]

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  • FIRE Intervenes in UCLA ‘Asians in the Library’ Case

    March 15, 2011

    FIRE has sent a letter to UCLA Chancellor Gene D. Block urging him to bring a quick end to UCLA’s disciplinary investigation of a student who posted a controversial video titled “Asians in the Library.”

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  • UCLA Student’s ‘Asians in the Library’ Video Not Discriminatory Harassment

    March 15, 2011

    For the last couple of days, controversy has been buzzing about a YouTube video (now with more than 4 million views) from a college student at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), who chose to take to the Internet to complain about the behavior of Asian students in the UCLA library and elsewhere. The student, who has been identified as Alexandra Wallace, claims that the “hordes” of Asian students at UCLA (UCLA’s undergraduate population is about 37 percent Asian and Pacific Islander) cause various annoyances like loudly talking on their cell phones in the library and having their extended […]

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  • UPDATED: Viral YouTube video called “repugnant” by UCLA administration

    March 13, 2011

    [UPDATED at 10:55 p.m.: Read the Daily Bruin's full story here. The story can be found in papers available on stands Tuesday morning.] [UPDATED at 3:20 p.m.: The university has confirmed that the person in the video "Asians in the Library" is Alexandra Wallace, a student at UCLA, said Robert Naples, associate vice chancellor and dean of students. Naples called the video "beyond distasteful," saying that her comments in no way represent the views of the UCLA as a community. Naples said he personally received more than 100 e-mails of complaint from individuals all over the country, primarily from people […]

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