University of Utah releases statement regarding possible hate crime

Dec 21, 2021, 12:28 PM | Updated: 12:29 pm
(Jordan Allred, Deseret News)...
(Jordan Allred, Deseret News)
(Jordan Allred, Deseret News)

The University of Utah responded to two alleged incidences of hate crimes on their campus.

Their statement says the University of Utah Racist and Bias Incident Response Team became aware of an instagram post with potential race incidents in an on-campus residence hall on Dec. 19. The Instagram post stated, “University of Utah Students walked through residence halls in KKK uniforms & smeared poop on a Black student’s door.”

However, the two incidents occurred a month apart and are not connected according to the statement.

“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.”

The statement lists the two incidents as follows:

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.

When the first incident was reported, HRE could not determine who may have left the paper towel on the door, but worked with the resident to support them in their decision to be relocated.

When the second incident was reported, HRE staff reviewed video surveillance footage of the previous three days surrounding the report but were unable to find any evidence of the event or identify anyone that might have been involved. HRE staff also spoke with the reporting party and desk staff but were unable to corroborate details of the said event.

According to the U both incidents were reported to University Police on Dec. 19 and an investigation has been opened.

“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.”

Students are encouraged to report crimes to HRE staff at 801-587-2002 or University Police at 801-585-2677.

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University of Utah releases statement regarding possible hate crime