UCLA lecturer sent racist, antisemitic manifesto threatening mass shooting

Michael Harris will face federal charges after threatening students, professor with extreme violence.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

A former lecturer in a California university — arrested Tuesday for threatening a mass shooting at the school the day before — had attached an 800-page, violent manifesto to an intimidating email to students that included antisemitic and racist language.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Michael Harris, 31, sent the email at around 1 a.m. Monday to former students in the philosophy department of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he was employed as a lecturer and post-doctoral fellow from 2019 to early 2021.

The material he sent included a video titled “UCLA PHILOSOPHY (MASS SHOOTING)” that contained footage from the sniper attack at a Las Vegas music festival that killed dozens in 2017. The manifesto contained links to several other videos he had made that showed him making racist comments against both Jews and east Asians.

On Monday evening, the university decided to move all classes to Zoom “out of an abundance of caution.”

Harris was taken into custody after a three-hour standoff with police in his Boulder, Colorado, apartment on Tuesday morning, and a “relieved” administration went back to in-person classes Wednesday.

Boulder police chief Maris Herold told reporters, “The level of violence we saw in the manifesto was … very disturbing.”

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“We identified thousands of references to violence, stating things such as killing, death, murder, shootings, bombs, schoolyard massacre in Boulder, and phrases like ‘burn and attack Boulder outside of the university,’” he said.

According to court documents, UCLA had already put Harris on investigatory leave last March due to “predatory behavior” such as sending pornographic and violent content to students.

The following month, Harris’ mother wrote to a professor in another university in the state system, whom her son had contacted some six months earlier. She was disturbed by his many aggressive emails and asked him not to contact her anymore.

His mother warned the woman that she had received emails from him saying that he wanted to “hunt” the professor and “put bullets in her skull.”

According to court records, the mother hadn’t seen Harris in five years and believed he needed psychiatric help.

Harris seemingly did get placed at some point in a mental health facility, but by May he was out. University of California regents had requested, and received, a workplace restraining order against him, which forbade him from contacting the professor in any way and from entering any University of California campus.

It also automatically placed him in a national database of those banned from possessing or buying firearms. He subsequently made an unsuccessful attempt to purchase a weapon in November.

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The Boulder County District Attorney’s office stated that Harris was being transferred to federal custody to face as-yet-unnamed federal charges.