Kappa Alpha Theta Member, Occidental College

November 2020
Occidental College (Private college or university)
Los Angeles, CA, United States

Identity of Speakers

  • Kappa Alpha Theta Member

    The student responsible for the series of texts has not been publicly identified by name


Additional Information

  • Incident Nature:
  • Incident Political Orientation:
    Not Clear
  • Incident Responses:
  • Incident Status:
    No litigation
  • Did not involve Speech Codes


In late 2020, a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority at Occidental College sent a series of racist text messages, including one declaring that “All Asian people must die,” to another student. The college became aware of these messages in the fall of 2021, and screenshots of them spread on social media in February, 2022, provoking outrage. In emails to the campus community, administrators denounced the messages but explained that California’s Leonard Law prevented the college from taking disciplinary action because “a private text conversation, which is not targeted at an individual and does not represent a credible threat, does not necessarily constitute unlawful harassment.” A number of student groups criticized this response and called for punitive action, prompting the administration to apologize for “compound[ing] the community harm” and pledge a series of remedial actions including listening sessions; the creation of a committee to respond to discrimination, harassment and retaliation complaints; an antiracism workshop; antibias and cultural competency workshops; a discussion on the Leonard Law; the hiring of a justice, equity, inclusion and diversity education specialist; and an expansion of antiracist education as a requirement for new student orientation.