University of Utah reports racist threats following slurs at BYU volleyball game

READ. said a black faculty member was called the N-word while waiting for a train.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) The University of Utah campus pictured Tuesday, July 19, 2022.

Shortly after nationwide reports of racist slurs at a Brigham Young University volleyball game, the University of Utah said it also recently received two separate reports of racism. on its campus.

The administration of the U. said the encounters — including threats against a black faculty member — are “unacceptable.” In a letter to students and staff on Friday, the school said it was investigating and would hold individuals accountable by pursuing “the full extent of possible sanctions.”

“This behavior will not be tolerated,” senior U leaders wrote. in the joint letter.

The first encounter was on August 16 when a black faculty member was called the N-word as he waited for his train to leave school.

A white male approached him, the faculty member reported, as he was carrying what looked like a food delivery. The man asked him where the reception building was and the faculty member pointed it out. When the man arrived at the building and discovered that it was locked, he started screaming.

He called the faculty member a “liar n—–” and threatened him, “I’m going to kick your ass.”

According to a report from the United States Racist and Biased Incident Response Team: “The faculty member was afraid that the individual would run and chase him on the TRAX platform, but luckily he didn’t.”

The faculty member boarded his train and called the response team to report the next day. He also later called campus police, who opened an investigation. READ. classified the threats as a hate crime.

The individual has not yet been identified. But campus police have increased patrols in the area.

The second story took place on August 28. A resident of one of the dorms said he overheard a male resident in the laundry room making racist and sexist comments.

Every time a female student walked by, the resident would make a sexual remark, the report noted. He also shouted the N-word several times, but not at one specific person, the U said.

“Although the racial slur was not directed at any individual, this behavior was unacceptable, disruptive and harmful to our community,” the report noted.

The student has been reported to multiple officers on campus and will be reviewed for possible discipline.

The letter to the U. campus follows widespread attention on BYU this week after a Duke volleyball player said a fan shouted racial slurs at her while she was at a game at the University. Provo school on August 26.

The Duke’s sophomore Rachel Richardson, the team’s only black starter, said she “very distinctly” heard a “very strong, negative racial slur” coming from the student section while serving.

BYU has not said it doubts Richardson’s account and is still investigating. The school banned a fan identified by Duke for shouting the slurs.

After viewing video of the game, BYU police say the fan approached a female player and “faced” her after the game, but he doesn’t appear to be the one who yelled the N-word at Richardson.

The report sparked community debate and drew attention to the private school, run by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including a response from another university withdrawing from a series games with BYU.

BYU officials said they implemented immediate changes to address the issue, including an increased police presence at the upcoming volleyball game.

Over the past year, the University of Utah has also responded to other reports of racism on its campus.

U. President Taylor Randall said in December the school should have done better in responding to two incidents last year – including concerns about a group dressed as KKK in a dorm and a black student reporting what appeared to be excrement spread on their door.

The allegations drew attention after a student at the Salt Lake City school posted them on Instagram, wondering why they still hadn’t been addressed months after they happened.

The school was quick to condemn the acts, but this week acknowledged that its racist and biased incident response team was never called when they were initially reported in September and October. And, they said, housing officials closed cases when investigations were inconclusive.

Randall said in his response that the process was “not perfect” and that he was committed to “improving” it.

He did not sign the trustees’ letter on Friday, but that memo included a list of how the U. has strengthened its processes in recent months to respond to reports of racism. The school said it is strengthening its code of conduct for visitors and fans, which appears to be a nod to what happened at BYU.

And he also said he was making the consequences worse for students who engaged in racism.

“It is incumbent on each of us to rebuild the lost support, safety and sense of belonging that arises whenever these incidents occur,” the administrators said.

READ. noted that there have been four racist incidents on campus in the past year. It also includes a bomb threat at the school’s black cultural center in January, as well as two students who allegedly yelled a racial slur at a contract worker as he made a delivery to a loading dock in the dorms in September.

The school said in its letter, “Until members of our black community can work, study, and live at the University of Utah free from the threat of strangers or insiders assaulting them with words and actions, this will remain unacceptable.”

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