Pride Week Block U Vandalism


Current Status:
In Review

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).

What happened

As part of Pride week at the U, the block U at the center of campus has been wrapped in the Progress Pride Flag, a tradition first started last year. The Progress Pride Flag features the original rainbow colors but also includes black and brown stripes to represent queer and trans people of color, as well as baby blue, pink and white of the trans flag to represent trans and non-binary people. Early in the morning of March 31, 2022, Campus Security officers discovered that the wrapped block U had been vandalized. An unknown individual(s) took two strips of duct tape, stuck the duct tape to the block U in two different places, and wrote messages in black marker on those pieces of duct tape. There was no permanent damage to the block U or the pride wrap, and University Police officers were able to immediately remove the duct tape. 

The messages written on the tape were “F*** Transectionalism” and “Don’t listen to the CCP propaganda.” Although unclear, “CCP” is likely a reference to the Chinese Communist Party. The term “transectionaism” refers to the idea of intersectionality that individuals have multiple pieces about our identity that intersect and inform how they experience the world and how they are treated within it. Although the intended meaning of these messages is not entirely clear, because these messages were posted on the block U that was wrapped in the Progress Pride Flag, during pride week, it appears that this was a targeted piece of vandalism/defacement directed at LGBTQIA+ communities. Additionally, March 31 is the International Day of Trans Visibility, a day dedicated to celebrating transgender people and raising awareness of discrimination faced by transgender people worldwide.

There were not any surveillance cameras directed toward the block U at the time of the incident, so identifying a suspect at this time is unlikely. There are, however, movable cameras that have since been directed toward the block U.

What is being done

The incident was reported to the Racist and Bias Incident Response Team and to University Police, which has opened an investigation.

If you have any information related to this incident (or others) that may help, please report by filling out the form at the Office of the Dean of Students website. Or you can report to University of Utah Police by calling 801-585-2677 or filling out the Silent Witness form.

If, through the course of some review or investigation (by University Police, or other appropriate investigative body), the individual(s) responsible is identified, 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 behaving suspiciously, engaging in vandalism, or talking about a plan to deface or vandalize university property, note the location and notify a campus official. 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/. To make a report of a racist or bias incident, visit the public reporting form.  

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.

The U is committed to equity, diversity and inclusion

Acts like this, done in a way to diminish or detract from a week of celebration and community building, such as Pride Week at the U, 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.  While we will not tolerate such behavior, when done covertly, we cannot stop the act in the moment. 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