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University of Utah campus

University of Utah campus. | Source: University of Utah

The University of Utah apparently has a uniquely elusive racism problem, because students keep reporting instances of potential racism and administrators who investigate the reports don’t seem to be able to find evidence that they happened.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, school administrators at the college are currently looking into two incidents: One where a Black student said they found feces spread over the door to their dorm room and, in the same building, an incident where students said they saw white students dressed in Ku Klux Klan robes.

The two incidents reportedly happened in September and October, respectively (exactly one month apart, actually), but new attention was drawn to the problem Sunday after a student took to social media to question why the on-campus racism isn’t being properly addressed by school officials. In response, administrators said that security footage from both incidents was combed through and neither incident was caught on camera.

It all reportedly started on Sept. 1, when a Black student reported to their resident advisor (RA) that they returned to their dorm room to find it covered in a brown substance that turned out to be excrement. “The U.’s housing office reviewed footage around the day and couldn’t see anyone approaching or at the door,” the Tribune reported, noting that the “school spokesperson, though, said the cameras might not have covered the specific area.” (Seems convenient, but OK, go on.)

Then, on Oct. 1, an RA reported overhearing students in the same building talking about other students who came into the dorm dressed in KKK gear looking for new recruits for their white supremacist group. (Sounds like somebody has seen Higher Learning too many times, but whatever.) Once again, a school spokesperson said investigators weren’t able to find it on camera. It’s also worth noting that on the same day, another student reported finding what they thought was feces smeared on a door, although a school spokesperson said they initially thought it was on a car door, but later said they weren’t sure. At any rate, that story hasn’t yet been corroborated.

So now, school officials as well as the Racist and Bias Incident Response Team at the U. are investigating the incident.

On Tuesday, the school released a lengthy statement regarding the two incidents and what is being done about them.

The university said, “Both incidents were reported to University Police on Dec. 19, 2021, and the agency is now actively investigating the issue,” and that “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.”


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