Homophobic Chant at Intramural Soccer Match


Current Status:
Monitoring

Although this situation may not be ongoing actively, the Racist & Bias Incident Response Team is working with appropriate departments to monitor and 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

On Monday, April 18, 2022, during an intramural soccer match, several spectators began to yell/chant a Spanish word that is colloquially known as a homophobic slur. During the second half of the match, three to four spectators, none of whom are believed to have been players for either team, began to yell the Spanish word “p***” during goal kicks. “P***” means “f*****” or “male prostitute” in colloquial Spanish. The spectators did this three times and laughed after each one. After the first instance of yelling the term, another person in attendance reported the behavior to the student staff supervisor. After the reporting party informed the supervisor of the meaning of the word, the supervisor acted promptly telling those who were chanting to stop, this was after the third chant. The spectators remained for the duration of the game but did not chant again.

This chant used to be a common chant for fans of the Mexican international soccer team until it was banned for its offensive nature, but when it continued, FIFA imposed punishment as well, requiring the Mexican team to play World Cup qualifying matches without fans. The usage of the slur, and its having been banned is well known throughout the soccer world. Although some argue that the term is not homophobic or discriminatory, FMF president Yon De Luisa acknowledged in an interview with Yahoo Sports that the chant is, in fact, homophobic and “discriminatory.”

What is being done

The incident was reported to the university’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (OEO/AA) as well as the Racist and Bias Incident Response Team.

Campus Recreation Services is working with OEO/AA to provide additional training to staff, and Campus Recreation Services has reviewed its policies and will continue to review them to ensure that staff have appropriate training on how to react to similar incidents should they occur in the future. Campus Recreation Services works to empower, develop, and educate student staff to be engaged and respond to incidents to support a safe and welcoming campus culture.  Campus Recreation Services’ current process is that when issues arise with fans or spectators, the onsite supervisors will have conversations with the individuals about the behavior. If the behavior is deemed unsafe for the staff to intervene, University Police will be notified to help resolve the issue. Most times the behavior is not severe and the offending individuals comply with the supervisor’s direction. If the behavior is severe but not dangerous, supervisors will do what they can to gather the offenders’ information and potentially ask them to leave the premises. If they are affiliated with one of the teams playing, the supervisor will enlist the captain of the teams help to negate the situation. The captain is responsible for the actions on the sideline that involves their team.

If, through the course of some review or investigation (by the OEO/AA or other appropriate investigative body), the individual(s) are confirmed to have engaged in conduct violating university policy, the Office of the Dean of Students (if confirmed to be a student), Human Resources (if confirmed to be an employee), or other appropriate leader, will act within university policy designed to hold the individual(s) accountable and, if appropriate, provide additional education about the harm caused to the community by this type of behavior.

What to do

Be vigilant and speak up. If you see someone engaging in offensive disruptive behavior at sporting events, etc., and if you feel safe doing so, intervene, or report it to a nearby official.

Stopping this type of behavior takes collective action, and bystander intervention efforts are one way of combatting conduct that can wrongfully be seen as a prank or joke but can cause real harm. To learn more about how to incorporate bystander intervention into your toolkit, check out the information here: https://wellness.utah.edu/workshops-training/#bystander.

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 Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in the Park Building, Room 208, or https://diversity.utah.edu/our-team/. To make a report of a racist or bias incident, visit the public reporting form

The U is committed to equity, diversity and inclusion

Acts like this cause harm to students’ and other community members’ sense of belonging in a time when we are returning to a place of in-person connectedness, and some are feeling especially vulnerable. We are still striving to ensure that all our staff, students, trainees, faculty and other community members are able to find a place of safety and belonging as a part of our campus community, and have the space to explore, express and celebrate their various identities. 

We will continue to name the biased acts, investigate, and hold the perpetrators of these hateful acts accountable when they are identified. Additionally, we will continue efforts that uplift and celebrate our communities and enhance a sense of belonging on our campus.

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