*UPDATED:* UCLA student's YouTube video 'Asians in the Library' prompts death threats; violent responses criticized as equally damaging
March 14, 2011 10:44 pm
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A UCLA student has received multiple death threats in response to her video “Asians in the Library,” which was posted Friday.
In the video, third-year political science student Alexandra Wallace makes a number of disparaging comments about Asian students.
“The problem is these hordes of Asian people that UCLA accepts into our school every single year,” Wallace said in the video.
She described her annoyance at Asian students talking noisily in the library, and imitated one student with the phrase, “Ohhhh. Ching chong ling long ting tong.”
The video quickly went viral and, despite being removed by Wallace on Sunday, has since been reposted under different accounts on YouTube and other websites.
[ Wallace contacted university police early Sunday evening after receiving numerous threats via e-mail and phone, said UCPD spokeswoman Nancy Greenstein. UPDATED: UCPD cannot confirm or deny that any of the threats were death threats. ]
Police advised her to take a number of precautions and are currently working to ensure her safety, Greenstein said.
“If she’s received a death threat, I find that as deplorable as her original YouTube video. If this is the response of students on campus, we’ve got a lot of work to do,” said Robert Naples, associate vice chancellor and dean of students.
Within three days, the video provoked a tremendous response, both inside and outside the UCLA community.
Speaking Sunday night, a university spokesman called the video “repugnant.”
Wallace sent a statement to the Daily Bruin early Monday morning apologizing for her remarks.
“Clearly the original video posted by me was inappropriate,” she said in the statement. “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.”
“I am appalled by the thoughtless and hurtful comments of a UCLA student posted on YouTube,” Block said in the statement. “Speech that expresses intolerance toward any group of people … is indefensible and has no place at UCLA.”
Students also took to various forms of social media, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Numerous responses to the video were posted on YouTube, including parodies and dubstep versions of the original recording. One parody clip surpassed 200,000 views as of Monday night, illustrating the original video’s momentum and the sheer volume of responses.
Hundreds of comments were also posted on Chancellor Gene Block’s Facebook page.
A Facebook group called “Asians in the Library ““ Alexandra Wallace” lists Wallace’s e-mail and asks students to report her to the dean.
A Facebook user under the name “Alexandra Wallace” posted an apology on Block’s Facebook page on Sunday night. However, Wallace said she did not write the posts, stating that she does not have a Facebook account.
Phil Gussin, Wallace’s political science professor, said Wallace contacted him with concern about how she would take her finals.
Gussin said Wallace told him that police advised her to reschedule her final exams in light of death threats she received and information posted online that listed her class schedule and exam locations.
Greenstein said police are working with Wallace to determine when she will take her finals.
Gussin said he is concerned for Wallace’s safety and is frustrated at the violent response some people have expressed.
“What Wallace did was hurtful and inexcusable, but the response has been far more egregious,” Gussin said. “She made a big mistake, and she knows it, but … they responded with greater levels of intolerance.”
Naples said the university will examine Wallace’s video to see if it violates any part of the student code of conduct. But he cautioned that the code does not usurp the authority of the First Amendment.
“(Wallace) has made judgments about a certain race, and people have made judgements about her, but we’ve got to make the correct judgments in the dean’s office, and in order to do that we need to know everything first,” Naples said.