The Racist & Bias Incident Response Team has been notified and is working with the appropriate departments to identify the person(s) responsible.
Students, faculty, staff and visitors 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).
On the evening of Dec. 19, 2021, the University of Utah Racist and Bias Incident Response Team became aware, through an Instagram post, of a potential racist incident in an on-campus residence hall. The Instagram post stated, “University of Utah Students walked through residence halls in KKK uniforms & smeared poop on a Black student’s door.” Based on information gathered by Housing and Residential Education, there were two separate reports of incidents, occurring approximately a month apart, which may be those referred to in the post – both incidents are being reviewed, and at this time, they do not appear to be linked.
On Sept. 1, 2021, a resident reported that they found a paper towel with a brown substance on their door handle.
A month later, on Oct. 2, 2021, a Resident Assistant (RA) in the same residence hall reported that they overheard some students in an elevator saying that there were people in “white KKK-like attire who were trying to recruit people.”
What is being done
After the first incident was reported, HRE was unable to determine who may have left the paper towel on the resident’s door handle and worked to support the resident who wished to be relocated. After the second incident was reported, HRE staff reviewed video footage from the three-day period surrounding the report and spoke to the reporting party and desk staff in the residence hall, but were unable to corroborate details of the event or identify anyone who may have been involved.
Both incidents were reported to University Police on Dec. 19, 2021, and the agency is now actively investigating the issue.
In early spring semester, the vice presidents of Student Affairs and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion will be thoroughly reviewing internal processes to determine what actions are needed to address these issues and improve systems moving forward.
What to do
If you have any information about either of these incidents, please report it to HRE staff (801-587-2002) or University Police (801-585-2677).
Be vigilant and speak up. We all have a responsibility to learn more about the variety of resources the U offers to support diversity and inclusion. Information is available through the Office of the Dean of Students in the Union Building, Room 270, firstname.lastname@example.org, 801-581-7066, or Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in the Park Building, Room 208, or https://diversity.utah.edu/our-team/. To find out more about resources available to University residents related to equity, diversity, and inclusion, visit the Equity Lounge. To make a report of a racist or bias incident, visit the public reporting form.
The U condemns hate and is committed to equity, diversity and inclusion
Acts like this, perpetrated within residence halls – which should be spaces of sanctuary and safety – strike fear and frustration in our students and community members when they are already feeling vulnerable. This is the third incident reported in as many weeks, and we understand that the community, especially our Black students, are feeling exhausted, targeted, and disconnected but we must remain vigilant in striving to ensure that all our staff, students, and faculty are able to find a place of safety and belonging as a part of our campus community.
The university strongly condemns the KKK and white supremacy, as the values held by these groups are contradictory to a sense of safety and belonging for our community. We will continue to name racist acts, investigate, and hold the perpetrators of these hateful acts accountable when they are identified. Additionally, we will proactively implement efforts that uplift and celebrate our communities as we witness an increasing number of racist acts on our campuses across the nation. This is the time to draw together and call out these acts when we see them.
Support and resources
Counseling and support services are available from several entities on campus. More at: https://safeu.utah.edu/resources/.
For support from Housing and Residential Education, contact Associate Director Kristi Manwill, 801-587-9718, email@example.com.
If you have questions or concerns, please contact Brian Jay Nicholls, Special Assistant to the Chief Safety Officer at RBIresponse@utah.edu.
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.
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.