Harassing Library Phone Calls

Current Status:

Although we believe this situation has been addressed in a way that should prevent future reoccurrence, those who believe they have been the target of bias, intolerance or discrimination may report an incident to the public incident report form (bias and intolerance) or the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (sexual misconduct and discrimination).

Please direct any questions or concerns in regard to this bias incident to the Special Assistant to the Chief Safety Officer at RBIresponse@utah.edu.

What happened

At approximately 3:30 P.M. on January 28, 2021, an unknown individual called the main Marriott Library information line, asking the employee who answered to look up a book titled, “N*****: An Autobiography” by Dick Gregory. The person calling attempted to try and get the employee to say the title of the book out loud multiple times. This same type of incident has occurred on different occasions beginning in November 2020 at the Eccles Health Sciences Library and the Faust Law Library as well. It seems as though in each of the incidents, the caller’s intention was to make the library employees, and/or others around them, feel uncomfortable by having the library employees repeat aloud the title of the book, which included the N-word.

What is being done

The incident was reported to Marriott Library Protection Services, University Police, and the Racist and Bias Incident Response Team.

University Police will further investigate, and if any university community members are identified as having made the calls, the Office of the Dean of Students, Human Resources, or other appropriate administrator will ensure that appropriate action is taken to address the incident.

What to do

Be vigilant and speak up. If you hear someone placing this type of harassing phone call, or are on the receiving end, please note the details you can, such as number the call came from if possible, time, date, and any other relevant information and report to University Police, the Racist and Bias Incident Response Team, or the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action. This information may help the university identify those engaging in this behavior so appropriate follow-up action may be taken.

If you are interested in learning more about the variety of resources the U offers to support diversity and inclusion, please visit the Office of the Dean of Students in the Union Building, Room 270, deanofstudents@utah.edu, 801-581-7066, or the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in the Park Building, Room 208, or https://diversity.utah.edu/our-team/. For more information about the University Libraries’ anti-racist resources, click here. To make a report of a racist or bias incident, visit the public reporting form

The U is committed to equity, diversity and inclusion

We want to acknowledge that this week marks the beginning of Black History Month. These types of phone calls remind us that a racist past is still with us today. As we have noted before, while we do not tolerate such behavior, when it is done anonymously from a distance, we cannot stop the act in the moment. What we can do—and what we will do—is build our anti-racist muscles. We will continue to facilitate events and implement efforts that celebrate our communities as we witness an increasing number of racist acts on campuses across the nation. If you are interested in engaging more with Black History Month and contributing to a positive conversation, check out some of the events happening this month, listed here: https://diversity.utah.edu/events/category/bhm/2021-02/ or https://diversity.utah.edu/centers/bcc/.

Questions & Concerns

For any questions or concerns in regard to this bias incident, please contact Brian Jay Nicholls, Special Assistant to the Chief Safety Officer, at RBIresponse@utah.edu.

For additional reporting information, please feel free to visit here.

Response process
Support Resources

If you are currently in a situation where immediate medical, police or other emergency services are needed, call 911 or University Emergency Communications at 801-585-2677 (801-585-COPS). To file a complaint regarding discrimination or sexual harassment, contact the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (OEO/AA) at 801-581-8365.

Support & resources
Report a Bias Incident

Any act of intolerance, motivated wholly or in part by bias or prejudice against an individual’s race, color, ethnicity, age, religion, size, disability, national origin, language, gender, veteran status, identity expression, sexual orientation or age—regardless of severity—can be reported using this form.

Submit a report