The department of sociology at the University of California at Los Angeles has been at the center of controversy for several years, particularly after a student published a series of racist cartoons.
In April, UCLA Chancellor Nicholas Dirks said the department was “an institution where everyone can be valued and appreciated” and pledged to take steps to ensure that future generations of students and staff “have a safe, secure, and inclusive environment.”
But the department has not been immune from controversy.
In September, an associate professor of sociology named Kari Blatt was accused of sexually harassing students and faculty members, and later resigned.
Blatt has since been named the department’s acting president.
The controversy over Blatt led some to question whether the department had been “taken over” by the university administration.
Blath, who is black, had been promoted to the position in April.
But the university has since denied any sexual misconduct by Blatt.
Blatts job has come under renewed scrutiny after a video emerged last month in which Blatt called on the public to “come and vote” in the 2016 presidential election, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The video, which was posted online by the Center for Media Justice, was shot at a UCLA event.
In it, Blatt and other members of the department, including Blatt’s former boss, are heard talking about how they believe the election was rigged against Trump.
“I think the election’s rigged, and it’s an act of terror,” Blatt said.
“Because he has no legitimacy.”
Blatt also reportedly said that if Trump were elected president, “people are going to start calling us names, too.”
Blatts video sparked outrage from many members of academia.
“It is unconscionable that this man would use the university as a platform to suggest that racism is a legitimate or even legitimate political theory,” former sociology professor and UCLA professor of government Nicholas Dirkes told the Los Angeles Times.
“We must stand together against such bigotry.”
UCLA has since released a statement to The Daily Caller that said, “We are committed to ensuring that our students, faculty and staff are safe and secure in the future.
The University of Los Angeles is committed to providing a welcoming and inclusive learning environment and to maintaining a diverse and inclusive campus community.”
Blath has since resigned from his position at UCLA.
The school’s chancellor said in a statement that “blatant racism and bigotry is unacceptable in our university and we will not tolerate it.”
“There is no place in the UCLA community for such conduct,” Dirks added.
The university’s president also issued a statement condemning Blatt for his comments.
“While there are legitimate concerns about his remarks, his views do not reflect the views of the University, and we believe that the remarks were completely out of line and did not represent the values and principles of the UCLA mission and mission of inclusion,” Dirkes said.
Blatant racists and bigotry are unacceptable in the University and we reject such conduct at UCLA — UCLA President Janet Napolitano (@NancyNapolitano) March 21, 2021 “We stand together with the University’s faculty, staff, and students in demanding that this type of rhetoric is not tolerated,” Dirces statement continued.
“The University of the United States of America is not a bastion of tolerance and inclusiveness, nor does it represent a culture that supports and encourages all students to feel free to express their diverse viewpoints.”
Blatants comments have also drawn criticism from the school’s Asian American student group.
“To think that you’re going to have someone that you can be like and say, ‘If you’re black and you want to be a professor, you better make sure you’re a white male professor,’ that’s kind of crazy,” said a member of the Asian American Student Alliance (AASA), which is also called the Asian Students Association.
“That is a really bad idea.
He’s trying to make this white guy feel bad for his skin color,” said Asian American Studies professor and Asian American studies professor Roberta Wong.
“This is a very dangerous thought.
If he thinks that if he is white, he can’t be racist, that’s racist.
That’s just not the way the world works.”
Blaton’s racist comments have led to calls for the resignation of the chancellor.
In a letter to Dirks, the students wrote, “You are the president of the entire institution, not just the president and the president’s office, and you have an enormous responsibility to the students who serve you.”
“Your job is to make sure that all students and students across the campus feel safe and respected,” the letter continued.
Dirks told The Daily Beast in a phone interview that he did not take Blatt seriously at the time.
“When I first heard him, I thought he was joking, but I thought that he was talking about the Asian Americans,” Dirk said.
After the video surfaced, Blatts former