After former UCLA lecturer Matthew Harris sent an email to the school threatening to hurt faculty and staff, the school has gone on high alert. On Tuesday, students were told in-person classes would be canceled out of an abundance of caution.
“UCPD is actively working with out-of-state & federal agencies on threats sent to some members of our community,” the California university tweeted on Tuesday. “We do not have specific information that this individual is in CA. Out of an abundance of caution, all classes will be held remotely Feb 1. We will keep you updated.”
The threatening email was sent to his former philosophy department and was reportedly just the latest in a string of incidents attached to Matthew Harris.
According to his former students, Harris posted hundreds of videos online to his YouTube page, threatened a mass shooting, and wrote an 800 page manifesto. One of the videos posted on Harris’ YouTube channel also featured videos of mass shootings such as the massacre at Columbine High School in Las Vegas.
“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, a student at UCLA.
UCLA’s school newspaper, The Daily Bruin, reported that the former lecturer was placed on leave after he sent a student pornography.
In a copy of the manifesto obtained by the Los Angeles Times, Matthew Harris wrote that “da war is comin,” and ordered the philosophy department to “forward dis s*** to our tha goldhead caucasoid princess.”
According to ABC News, the student body president revealed that Harris was living on the East Coast, but the school decided to move to remote learning on Tuesday for safety purposes. Students were also told to “avoid being anywhere near Dodd Hall or the philosophy department until further notice.”
In other erratic and manic videos posted Monday, Harris blurted racial and misogynistic slurs over videos titled, “I’m a Pedophile,” “Murder,” “Use Force All Money Is Robbery,” “F**k Integration,” and “UCLA PHILOSOPHY (MASS SHOOTING),” among many more.
The videos have since been taken down from YouTube due to their disturbing content, but students and faculty who were able to view them said that they were highly concerned.
“The list just goes on and on about the Mandalay Bay shooting, school shootings, mass shootings, concert shootings,” one student, Lale Kacharian told ABC News. “He’s a very disturbed guy obviously, and I hope he gets the help he needs and he doesn’t hurt anyone around him.”
Many students allegedly complained about his behavior to the school before, but he was not placed on leave until after the investigation into whether he sent a student pornography.
One student claimed that he was “extremely unprofessional” and that Harris had changed their grade 43 times before the end of the semester. Another stated that his philosophy course was by far their least favorite class at UCLA “ever.”
Reviewing the former lecturer on Bruinwalk.com, a student claimed that he sent multiple students emails in the middle of the summer, way after the term ended stating that “he spilled Chinese food on their final and that they need to resubmit it.”
A review as far back as March 2021 cited Matthew Harris’ YouTube page, as well, saying the student sent it to officials with no response. “Please fire this professor,” they wrote, “his actions are not acceptable by any standards.”
Matthew Harris’ current location remains unknown, but everyone at UCLA Tuesday morning was reported as safe.