This week two incidents of hate and bias were reported from the University of Utah’s Pride Week 2023, March 27 – April 1.
In one case, a vandal defaced a poster listing the week’s events in a bathroom in the Union Building. In another, flyers advertising an anti-trans film watch party were distributed, also in the Union Building.
The incidents, which have been addressed, were reported to the U’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (OEO/AA), as well as the Racist and Bias Incident Response Team.
Leaders of the university’s Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion and Student Affairs divisions acknowledge the harm and pain caused to trans and non-binary campus community members in the wake of such acts.
In contrast to incidents like these, vice president for Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion, Mary Ann Villarreal said, “the University of Utah and EDI continue to work in support of our LGBTQIA+ students, staff, and faculty—and we remain committed to building a campus environment where every individual feels valued as their full, authentic selves—and has every opportunity to thrive.”
“We want to ensure every student knows they belong and are able to bring their whole selves to campus,” said Lori McDonald, vice president for Student Affairs. “We are committed to working with students to ensure they are able to gather and find like-minded community without harming others.”
Villarreal and McDonald noted in a statement last year, after similar incidents of Pride Week vandalism, “while the disappointment and heaviness of intimidation cannot be swept away with a simple gesture of acknowledgment, we want to ensure every student and colleague knows they are valued and that the U is their home. We must be vigilant in our continuous commitment to maintain an equitable and inclusive campus for everyone every day.”
Student Affairs and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion staff will continue their work to improve the ways the U campus community shows up to support each other and create and place of safety and belonging.
If you have experienced or are impacted by biased or hateful behavior on our campus, we want to know so that we can address those acts quickly and provide support. Incidents can be reported to the Racist and Bias Incident Response Team here.
For trans and non-binary students, the LGBT Resource Center has online Trans Resources or can be visited in person in the Union. The Women’s Resource Center and University Counseling Center can provide confidential counseling services.
For trans and non-binary employees, Human Resources offers the Employee Assistance Program for counseling support. Anyone who is transitioning can seek additional support from HR for name changes and to work with colleagues on your team, if necessary. Additionally, the HR team has updated systems to include individuals’ chosen name, which includes the campus directory, Kronos, Bridge, new employee applications and more.
If you experience harassment or discrimination, visit the Office of Equal Opportunity, and please report.
To colleagues who are cisgender and are seeking education, The Trevor Project is a great place to start. U of U Health has created a Transgender Health Program, which is a great resource for trans and non-binary people, and also hosts several seminars that are educational for those interested in supporting the trans community.