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Letter to U.S. Department of Education

As leaders of the University of Utah, we are disturbed by reports of increased antisemitism, Islamophobia and other forms of discrimination at the U and across the country. It is with no hesitation that we restate now, in the strongest of terms, that we condemn antisemitism, Islamophobia and bigotry on our campus. Racist and discriminatory acts are a violation of our code of conduct and a detriment to our community, and will be responded to as such. We cannot teach, learn, support or understand each other with the deafening noise of violence, ignorance, bigotry and hate as a backdrop. We have the shared responsibility and opportunity to reshape this trend and cultivate our campus community with tolerance and respect.

Recently, the U.S. Department of Education called on all institutions of higher education to affirm their commitment to adhering to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, in which no student can be denied benefits or participation in federally-funded programs, including at universities. We remain dedicated to ensuring that all students at the U are safe, welcome, and supported to be successful in their learning. Any cases of that safety being threatened should be reported to the Racist and Bias Incident Response Team (RBIRT) or the University Public Safety Department.

We acknowledge the First Amendment rights of students, faculty and staff to free speech on campus. We are troubled by recent incendiary incidents in the name of free speech that have been divisive and offensive. At the same time, we call for compassion and understanding between those who disagree. There are limits to free speech, and violations of university policy, including obscenity, defamation or incitements to violence will not be tolerated.

The University of Utah is a center of learning, with the vision that through education, we can impact our world for the better. This includes people of all ethnicities, backgrounds, nationalities and genders. As higher education leaders, we are committed to delivering excellence in teaching, research, patient care and community service. Injustices, violent conflicts, social upheaval and even racist and biased incidents on our own campus may seem to split us into opposing camps, but the U’s foundational principles recognize our shared humanity and the dignity of all people. We will continue to lead with this in mind. We have more in common with each other and our shared purpose than the events and people who would tear us apart.


Taylor R. Randall, President

Mitzi M. Montoya, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Michael L. Good, Senior Vice President for Health Sciences