UCLA Student Alexandra Wallace Apologizes to Campus' Asians

Alexandra Wallace's online rant sparked national debate over free speech.

March 19, 2011— -- Alexandra Wallace, the UCLA student whose viral video rant about Asians sparked outrage and a nationwide debate about free speech, will face no disciplinary action by the university and reportedly plans to withdraw from school.

UCLA's Daily Bruin newspaper posted a letter online Friday in which the student newspaper said Wallace apologized for offending "the UCLA community and the entire Asian culture."

"I made a mistake. My mistake, however, has lead [sic] to the harassment of my family, the publishing of my personal information, death threats and being ostracized from an entire community," read the letter the Daily Bruin said was released through a spokesman for the Wallace family.

The school's administration considers the matter closed, UCLA spokesman Phil Hampton told ABCNews.com.

"While some of the sentiments that were expressed in the video were hurtful, appalling and offensive, we have not uncovered any acts that violated the student code of conduct," Hampton said. "We have no intention of pursuing the matter further."

Hampton added that the university "zealously protects freedom of expression, however misguided or offensive to our core values that speech may be."

He added that the university was "disappointed with some of the threatening and vitriolic language that has been used by some in response to the video.

"Accordingly, for personal safety reasons, I have chosen to no longer attend classes at UCLA," Wallace said.

A junior political science major, Wallace received death threats after her videotaped tirade, which was titled "Asians in the Library," was posted last Friday, the same day the earthquake and tsunami hit.

In the video, which went viral over the weekend, Wallace vented about "the hordes of Asian people" at UCLA and mocked them for talking on the phone in the library. "Ohhhh! Ching chong ling long ting tong!" she said, imitating an Asian student talking on the phone.

UCLA's Asian Pacific Coalition, an organization representing the university's 24 Asian-American and Pacific Islander student groups, called for the university to discipline Wallace for using "hate speech" and violating the student code of conduct.

Layhannara Tep, the coalition's director, told ABCNews.com that she was "disappointed that the university will not take any more measures to investigate this matter."

"Whether or not the university found her in violation of the student code of conduct, she was in violation of our collective principles of community, which stresses the importance of tolerance and acceptance from people of all backgrounds," Tep said.

In an editorial in the Daily Bruin on Monday, the Asian Pacific Coalition called Wallace's comments "hate speech, an act of discrimination, harassment and profiling."

They called for an apology from Wallace and a statement from the administration.

On Monday, Wallace apologized for the video in a letter to the campus newspaper: "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."

The school's chancellor, Gene Block, called the incident "a sad day for UCLA."

Alexandra Wallace Did Not Violate UCLA's Code of Conduct with Viral Video Rant

The dean of students began investigating the matter Monday.

"We'll be taking a look at the language that she uses in the video to see if it violates any codes under the student code, perhaps regarding harassment," Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Students Robert J. Naples told the Daily Bruin, the university's newspaper, on Monday.

The investigation sparked debate throughout the country about whether Wallace should be punished and whether her comments were protected by the First Amendment.

UCLA law professor and noted First Amendment scholar Eugene Volokh weighed in on the debate. In a blog post Tuesday he said, "The speech is clearly constitutionally protected, as well as being moronic."

"The premise of the American university (and, I think, American self-government more broadly) is that people need to be free to express their views," Volokh wrote, adding that implementing that premise meant "boneheaded statements have to be as protected as more well-reasoned statements."

The New York Times sided with Volokh in an editorial Thursday.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education or FIRE, in a letter sent to the chancellor Tuesday, urged the university to close its investigation, saying Wallace's tirade is protected by the First Amendment and does not constitute harassment.

Ultimately, Hampton said Friday, the university "uncovered no facts that would lead us to believe there has been a violation of the code of conduct."

But David Yoo, the director of the Asian American Studies Center, hopes the issue does not end here. "It's important to move beyond the individual," he said, "to what are the larger issues that underlie that. This goes to larger issues of campus climate and culture."

Yoo said for over a decade students have been pushing for a course on diversity that undergraduates would be required to take just as they do at every other campus in the University of California system. He and Lane Hirabayashi, the Asian American Studies Department chair, once again called on the university to implement such a requirement.

Tep from the Asian Pacific Coalition agreed for the need for such a course. She said not only Wallace's comments but the response to her comments showed the need for a change in the campus climate.

"UCLA must demonstrate its commitment to creating a safe environment for every student," Tep said. "More importantly, UCLA must demonstrate its commitment for preparing all students for our increasingly diverse world."

Others have responded to Wallace's video with videos of their own. In one humorous slap at Wallace, a young Asian American fashioned her words into a song.

"Underneath the pounds of makeup and your baby blue eyes, I know there's a lot of pain and hurt, for such a big brain to spend all night studying Poly Sci, so I pick up my phone and sing," the young man sings in the chorus. "Ching chong: It means I love you. Ling long: I really want you. Ting tong: I don't actually know what that means."