Former lecturer accused of shutting down UCLA with 800-page manifesto and video threatening mass shooting

Matthew Harris allegedly sent an email containing ‘specific threats’ to members of philosophy department and posted video online called ‘UCLA Philosophy (Mass Shooting)’

Rachel Sharp
Tuesday 01 February 2022 15:14 GMT
Royce Hall on the Westwood campus at UCLA
Royce Hall on the Westwood campus at UCLA (Getty Images)

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A disgruntled former lecturer has forced UCLA to shut down in-person learning after he allegedly sent an 800-page manifesto and videos threatening a mass shooting to faculty and students.

Matthew Harris sent an email containing “specific threats” to members of the university’s philosophy department on Monday, according to the LA Times, which obtained a partial copy of the email as well as several emails sent by UCLA staff to students which identified Mr Harris as the sender.

In the email, the former postdoctoral fellow and lecturer in the philosophy department warned that “da war is comin” and “forward dis [expletive] to our tha goldhead caucasoid princess”.

The email, which is said to be laden with profanities and references to race, also included links to the 800-page manifesto and videos posted on his now-removed YouTube channel.

Among the hundreds of videos posted on the channel on Sunday and Monday was one titled “UCLA PHILOSOPHY (MASS SHOOTING)” which contained footage of the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting and clips from a movie based on the 1999 Columbine school shooting.

A UCLA spokesperson toldThe Independent on Tuesday morning that out-of-state law enforcement had confirmed that the person who made the threats is now “under observation and not in California”.

Classes at UCLA will stay remote on Tuesday, the spokesperson added, after the university announced it was canceling in-person learning “out of an abundance of caution”.

“UCLA Police Department is aware of a concerning email and posting sent to some members of the UCLA community today and actively engaged with out-of-state law enforcement and federal agencies,” the university tweeted late on Monday night.

“We will keep the community informed as we learn more.”

In a follow-up tweet two hours later, UCLA confirmed that the university’s police department was “actively working” with other agencies regarding the threats and that lessons would be remote on Tuesday.

“UCPD is actively working with out-of-state & federal agencies on threats sent to some members of our community,” the post read.

UCLA said it does not have “specific information” that Mr Harris is in California.

“We do not have specific information that this individual is in CA,” it said.

“Out of an abundance of caution, all classes will be held remotely Feb 1. We will keep you updated.”

A post on the UCLA Student Body President Instagram page said that Mr Harris lives on the East Coast so “does not pose a threat” to the California campus.

In one of the emails informing students of a switch to remote learning, one staff member urged people to “avoid being anywhere near Dodd Hall or the philosophy department until further notice”, reported LA Times.

A UCLA Police Department spokesperson said they could not comment on the matter.

A UCLA student told ABC7 he had been “scared” of Mr Harris over his behaviour in the classroom and that he made “threats” when he was put on leave.

"I’ve been scared about this professor, this guy, for about a year since my girlfriend told me about the stories - how he treated their class, but also the threats he made after he got put on leave," said Nathan Robbins.

Anonymous reviews posted on Bruinwalk months before this week’s alleged threat complain about his “extremely unprofessional” actions.

“This professor is extremely unprofessional and has sent his personal p*rnographic content to a student,” one review from March 2021 reads.

Another, posted October 2020, says his class is “easily my least favorite class at ucla ever” and that he “started messaging people in the middle of the summer saying that he spilled Chinese food on their final and that they need to resubmit it”.

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