After a period of 90 days with no new information, cases are considered closed. However, if new information becomes available or there are other updates those will be posted here. Individuals 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 RBIRT Manager at RBIresponse@utah.edu.
On September 17, 2022, students from the Inter-Tribal Student Association (ITSA) reported a video that surfaced on social media that disparages and mocks a University of Utah student who is affiliated with the Ute Indian/Navajo tribe. The student uses the facilities at the Student Life Center to work out and practice his cultural and traditional dances as a powwow dancer. An unidentified person using the same facilities captured a video of the student practicing his traditional dance. The unidentified person then posted the video on social media with the caption “Catch me at the bars tonight like…” The video was reposted other places on social media including one post with the stereotypical and derogatory remark “Yeah I’m a Ute U-Alcoholic.”
Campus Recreation Services prohibits the use of phones/tablets for photography or filming, specifically the policy states: “The use of any device, including a mobile phone or tablet, for photography and/or videotaping is not allowed unless prior written authorization is obtained from CRS…Inappropriate use of phones, cameras, and electronic tablets may result in corrective action, up to and including permanent dismissal from the facility.”
What is being done
The incident was reported to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (OEO/AA) as well as the Racist and Bias Incident Response Team. We have also encouraged the student to report the incident to University of Utah Police.
The American Indian Resource Center (AIRC) organized a blessing ceremony led by a spiritual advisor and connected students to health and wellness resources on campus. The AIRC will continue to provide ongoing support. Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion is collaborating with select campus partners to secure spaces for students to practice their spiritual and sacred traditions.
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 secretly recording, or taking photos of individuals in campus recreation facilities, 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, 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 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
Further, the University strongly condemns actions that cause harm and diminish a sense of belonging and safety for all Native American and Indigenous students. We are striving to create a campus community where members find a place of safety and belonging, and have the space to explore, express, and celebrate their various identities.
While we will not tolerate acts that degrade and belittle, when done covertly, we cannot stop the act in the moment. We will continue to name the biased acts, investigate, and when such acts violate the law or our policies, we will hold the perpetrators of these harmful 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, and strive to live our mission and lead with purpose.
The University of Utah also welcomes and values our students who are members of the Tribal Sovereign Nations, as well as all Native American and Indigenous members of our community and believes the campus community is strengthened by their contributions. Information about the special relationship between the University of Utah and the Ute Tribe is available online.
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.