SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – A widely circulated Instagram post has recently shed light on reports of Ku Klux Klan activity at the University of Utah campus, and the school has released a statement Wednesday, in response to the reports.
The statement begins by saying, “The University of Utah’s senior leadership team will not tolerate racist or hateful behavior in our community. We have said in the past and will say again, racist and biased behavior at this university is an offense to our entire campus community, particularly our communities of color. These actions will be called out for what they are—behaviors rooted in hate. We will continue to monitor these incidents and will hold identified perpetrators accountable.”
The incidents have recently received attention due to an Instagram post reading “University of Utah students walked through residence halls in KKK uniforms and smeared poop on a Black student’s door. Why hasn’t anyone done anything?”
The school goes on to say, “We regret that our process for addressing racist and biased incidents on our campus did not work as we would want it to and accept responsibility for this shortcoming. Here is how the process is supposed to work: The Racist & Bias Incident Response Team (RBIRT) was created in late 2019 to develop a coordinated response to racist and hateful incidents on campus. The committee members depend on the knowledge, infrastructure, and people already in place on our campus. The process is not perfect, but it is deliberative and transparent, and we are committed to making it better. We acknowledge that we need to improve our internal communication and review processes to raise awareness of RBIRT so that we can be more open and timelier in our communication about hateful incidents as they happen on our campus.”
This statement comes almost a month after another hate crime was reported on campus in late September 2021. A university contractor was making a delivery to the loading dock at a residence hall on campus when two students allegedly shouted the N-word out of a window in the room above. The students also reportedly threw sunflower seeds and coffee pods at the contractor.
The University Housing and Residential Education (HRE) also released a statement with plans to re-review similar and previous cases that were reported. The HRE also plans to re-train all HRE staff and student leaders on the U’s Racist and Bias Incident Response Team process.
As a solution, the school says they will “Create actionable next steps” that will enact meaningful change.
Some of those steps, the University says, include:
- Conducting a comprehensive audit of racist and biased incidents reported over the past year from Housing & Residential Education (HRE) and across campus.
- Reviewing the analysis, response and communication for each incident.
- Releasing an audit report by March 2022 and implementing any recommended changes or additions to our process for addressing racist and hateful incidents.
The statement was signed by U of U president Taylor Randall, Interim Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs Martell Teasley, and Michael Good, Senior Vice President for Health Sciences.