University of California, Los Angeles: Lecturer Referred to Administration After Reading Martin Luther King, Jr. Letter Containing Racial Slur


University of California, Los Angeles

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Case Overview


During a class lecture, UCLA professor Lt. Col. W. Ajax Peris read from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” including use of a racial slur. After a student complained on Twitter, his college referred the matter to UCLA investigators. Peris’ department chair then sent a letter to faculty members faulting Peris for reading the word over students’ objections, and criticized him for exhibiting a documentary that included graphic images and descriptions of lynching. The university’s actions prompted an investigation from the Department of Education and a letter from FIRE calling for the end to any investigation into Peris.