National Institute on Aging

Racist Incidents at the University of Utah

A Black faculty member at the University of Utah was waiting for a train near campus. A White man with a paper bag approached him and asked where the Receiving Building was because he had to make a delivery. The faculty member pointed to the Receiving Building. The man walked toward the indicated building and when he found it was locked, he screamed at the faculty member from a distance, calling him a “lying nigger.”

In a statement, the university said that “this act, specifically targeted against a faculty member of our Black community, in a public space, is rooted in the hateful act of striking fear among our community members. These targeted acts leave our Black students, staff, and faculty feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, angry, and continuously on edge. While we work to ensure that they can find a place of safety and belonging as a part of our campus community, we know that is not enough. We will continue to name the racist acts, investigate, and hold the perpetrators of these hateful acts accountable when they are identified. We cannot tolerate what is intolerable.”

In a separate incident, a resident reported to the front desk of their residence hall that they heard another resident in the laundry room making racist and sexual comments. Specifically, the resident was saying sexual things to female residents and then also randomly saying the “N-word” loudly, though not directed at any particular individual.

Other racist incidents have been reported on campus in the past year. See JBHE posts here and here.

African Americans make up just one percent of the undergraduate student body at the university.



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