Statement on reported racial incidents

The university strongly condemns racist and bias incidents.

What happened

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 & Residential Education (HRE), 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.

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.

Early in the Spring 2022 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 at 801-587-2002 or University Police at 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.

More information is available through the following offices:

Office of the Dean of Students
Union Building, Room 270
deanofstudents@utah.edu
801-581-7066

Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion
Park Building, Room 208
diversity.utah.edu

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. Click here to learn more.

Housing & Residential Education
Kristi Manwill, associate director
kmanwill@housing.utah.edu
801-587-9718

Racist & Bias Incident Response Team
Brian Jay Nicholls, special assistant to the Chief Safety Officer
rbiresponse@utah.edu