HRE statement on reported racial incidents and commitment to action

As many of you already know, there have been several reported incidents of racism and hate that have occurred in and around University of Utah residence halls this semester. When we learned about these incidents, we responded quickly by conducting internal investigations and providing resources to the impacted students.

However, it is clear that we need to do more and that we can be better. We fell short by not being more transparent with our housing community and by not being more collaborative with our partners and colleagues across the U campus.

In an effort to close the gaps that led to many of our residents feeling unheard and unsafe, we plan to build and strengthen the connections between our reporting and investigating staff and campus support groups that can make recommendations and help put timely solutions in place. We will also engage with the Racist and Bias Incident Response Team and with our campus partners sooner so these incidents can be shared with students living in our residence halls and the broader campus community. We believe better collaboration will lead to in-depth investigations that can identify patterns, and/or connect incidents that may appear unrelated.

We are now re-reviewing these cases to see what we may have missed and how we can investigate better in the future. In January, we will re-train all HRE staff and student leaders on the U’s Racist and Bias Incident Response Team process. We will also be working closely with Student Affairs leadership and others on campus to develop a plan of action for listening to residents to identify areas for improvement, as well as strengthen our information-sharing protocols and our accountability and conduct processes.

We know we can only make a meaningful change when we work together, and we are committed to being part of making the University of Utah a better place.

While we work to review our processes, we ask our community to report racist or hateful behavior to our RBIRT team here so we can address these behaviors and work to create a more inclusive culture at the U. If you have been impacted by racist or biased acts, the university has support staff and resources to help, you can find a list here.