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Hate has no home here

In the wake of the tragic shooting in Colorado targeting the LGBTQIA+ community, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) and Student Affairs (SA) are reiterating the University’s position against hate, bigotry or discrimination of any kind and expressing care for all communities that are feeling vulnerable and wrestling with grief.

The violence perpetrated on Nov. 19, 2022, in Colorado Springs is the latest act of open aggression that specifically focused on the LGBTQIA+ community. This kind of hateful behavior must be met with strength and vigilance in support of our fellow community members.

“I want every member of our campus community impacted by this tragedy, particularly members of the LGBTQIA+ community, to know they are not alone,” says Lori McDonald, vice president for Student Affairs. “Several departments on campus are here to support you and help you process and grieve.”

Tragic events like this weekend’s violence in Colorado are often (if not always) preceded by other attacks on vulnerable groups. Several have pointed to discriminatory language and exclusionary policy that had been used to attack the LGBTQIA+ community and dehumanize them in the months before this attack. The best way to stop these events is to interrupt racism and bias whenever we encounter it—and cultivate a culture of caring and belonging for everyone.

“We are terribly saddened by what we’re seeing in Colorado Springs—and at the same time we must be on guard against these trends in our own city and state,” says Vice President of EDI at the University of Utah, Mary Ann Villarreal.

On the University of Utah campus, instances of bigotry have recently highlighted negative perceptions held against members of different groups—including our Asian/Asian American community. One recent incident involved racist slurs and comments directed toward an individual at the Utah-USC football game. In two other incidents, a student was subjected to hate speech at a Utah Transit Authority Trax light rail station and a university employee working at the J. Willard Marriott Library was targeted.

Villarreal says we must remain vigilant in our efforts to stem the tide of hateful behavior toward members of any marginalized group.

“We must come together as a community and continue fighting against hateful language and discrimination,” she said. “There is no room for hate in our community.”

The Racist & Bias Incident Response Team (RBIRT) urges campus to “be vigilant” and where possible defend those who are being targeted. “Stopping this type of behavior takes collective action, and bystander intervention efforts are one way of combatting such conduct that causes real harm.” Campus community members looking for information about effective bystander intervention strategies, can visit the workshop training site here.

Academic and University of Utah Health community members who have been impacted by racist or biased acts will also find several university support staff and resources to help. For updates on opportunities to connect with the LGBTQIA+ community and process the violence that has targeted the community follow @lgbtresource and @uofuwrc on Instagram and Twitter.

We aspire to live by the standards of our Guiding Principles on Equity and Belonging, that we all have the right to live free of discrimination, harassment, and prejudicial treatment. In the wake of this heartbreaking tragedy, we hope all of campus will renew its commitment to these values and convey caring for our entire community.


Resources available on campus