University of California, Los Angeles community members were put on high alert after the Asian American Studies Center (AASC) received a letter saying a white supremacist rally would be held on campus on Feb. 14.
The flyer, sent to AASC through mail on Feb. 9, reportedly contained xenophobic remarks, slurs and derogatory terms targeting the Asian American, Black and LGBTQ plus communities, the Daily Bruin reported.
The flyer also contained anti-Asian and sexist slurs to accompany an image and praise of Robert Aaron Long, the 21-year-old man who killed eight people, including six Asian women, during the Atlanta spa shootings in March 2021.
Asian American Studies Department Chair Natalie Masuoka and Vice-Chair Keith Camacho notified the faculty, staff and students about the flyer in an email, urging them to be cautious on Feb. 14. No rally occurred on the given date, according to the Bruin.
In a letter sent by Chancellor Gene Block and co-signed by Vice-Chancellor Anna Spain Bradley on Feb. 13, the campus said it had investigated the flyer and condemned the hatred it conveyed.
“We have investigated this incident and do not see a need to modify campus plans at this time,” the letter read. “At the same time, additional Community Program/Security Officers and UCPD officers will be monitoring campus tomorrow out of an abundance of caution.”
Matt Ellis, manager of the Community Service Officers program, and James Echols, a spokesperson from the UCLA Police Department (UCPD), said the campus hired private security services from Professional Security Consultants and had deployed officers to Murphy Hall and Campbell Hall in anticipation of a rally.
UCLA spokesperson Bill Kisliuk also later confirmed to the Bruin that no rally took place on campus on Valentine’s Day.
“Before all of this, the community was still reeling from the recent high-profile killing of Michelle Go, an alum in New York who was pushed in front of a subway,” said Kaitlin Alcontin, director of the Asian Pacific Coalition.
The initial lack of communication from administration about the matter reportedly also caused concerns among student leaders, Alcontin continued.
“There is a conversation to be had about how students should not be learning about these things via social media, where the possibility for misinformation and confusion and panic is higher,” Alcontin said.
Recalling a similar incident in 2014, Karen Umemoto, the director of the AASC, said cases such as this indicate the necessity for schools to teach ethnic studies research.
“My reaction to the flyer was that we just double our resolve to get the history and stories of our peoples out there to the American public so that this next generation of people… will have more empathy towards people who are different from themselves,” Umemoto said.
“We remain adamant that categorical hate has no place in our society,” Umemoto added. “And we will not be silenced in our efforts to share the histories, cultures and contemporary experiences as a Center at UCLA dedicated to education for a more inclusive, democratic and just society.”