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Anti-Asian YouTube rant by UCLA student angers many

Pictured in a three-minute long YouTube video posted on Friday, Mar. 11, 2011, UCLA student Alexandra Wallace complains about Asian students who use their cell phones in the library.

March 14, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A student at the University of California, Los Angeles, posted a video on YouTube lashing out at Asian students just hours after the massive 9.0 earthquake struck Japan. Since it was posted, the video has become the talk of the campus and Internet.

In the three-minute long video, UCLA student Alexandra Wallace went on to disparage Asian students who use their cell phones in the library, in particular, those who were calling to check on relatives in Japan in the aftermath of last week's earthquake.

"In America, we do not talk on our cell phones in the library," Wallace says in the video. "I feel bad for all people affected by the tsunami, but if you're going to go call your address book, you might as well go outside."

The online video made its way onto social networking sites over the weekend. By Monday night, a reposted video had more than 590,000 hits.

Wallace's decision to post the video was no laughing matter. It could have serious consequences on her scholastic career at UCLA. University officials are evaluating whether there have been any violations of the student code of conduct and what sanctions, if any, are appropriate.

UCLA chancellor Gene Block said he was "appalled by the thoughtless and hurtful comments" and that the video "does not represent the views of our UCLA community."

Wallace issued an apology earlier Monday. In a statement to the student newspaper she said, "Clearly the original video posted by me was inappropriate. 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."

There was a wide range of reaction near the UCLA campus in Westwood on Monday night. A lot of students said the online diatribe is offensive and insensitive, but others said they could see the humor in some of the things Wallace said.

"I thought it was ridiculous," said Nisha Walia, a UCLA student. "I didn't even know that UCLA would accept somebody like that."

"I actually do have family in Japan and I did call them," said Alex Vergel, a UCLA student. "That tsunami comment was absolutely uncalled for. That comment was incredibly hateful."

"It's her right to say it. I just think it was kind of a dumb move because she was kind of hurting herself more than anyone," said Sanjali Kumar, a UCLA student.

"I think it's not that big of a deal," said John Wu, a UCLA student. "It's all overblown. I hope nothing bad happens to her, but I mean, like, she was kind of dumb posting it to YouTube."