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Shooting Threat Prompts UCLA to Shift Classes Online

February 2, 2022

A shooting threat by a former lecturer prompted the University of California, Los Angeles, to move classes online on the second day of in-person learning of the winter quarter.

Matthew Harris, a former lecturer and postdoctoral fellow at UCLA, made threats online that referenced a mass shooting at the college and sent an 800-page manifesto singling out members of UCLA’s philosophy department, according to the Los Angeles Times. Harris joined UCLA in 2019 but was placed on leave in 2021 for disciplinary reasons, the Times reported.

According to a philosophy department newsletter, Harris’s scholarship was focused on the “philosophy of race, personal identity, and related issues in philosophy of mind.”

On Monday Harris uploaded dozens of videos to YouTube—since taken down—including one threatening a mass shooting at UCLA. Another deleted video, accessible via the Internet Archive, was titled “DUKE UNIVERSITY PHILOSOPHY (CATASTROPHIC SHOOTING)” with video of various shootings, real and from movies, stitched together. Harris was previously a graduate student at Duke.

In another video, Harris referred to Hitler as “my inspiration.”

Harris, who is Black, included derogatory comments about Asian, Jewish and white people in a number of barely comprehensible videos uploaded to YouTube and still accessible via the Internet Archive, as well as in his manifesto, according to screenshots circulating online.

Harris was arrested in Colorado on Tuesday. Upon news of his arrest, UCLA announced in a statement that it would return to in-person classes today.

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