University of Utah addresses racially motivated incidents on campus

The University of Utah. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

The University of Utah in Salt Lake City is addressing two recent racially-motivated incidents that happened days after the school year started. 

According to administrators, the first incident occurred on August 17. A Black faculty member said that he was walking towards the UTA Trax South Campus station when a White man, with what appeared to be a small food delivery paper bag, walked up to him and asked him for directions to a building. When the delivery man found out the building was locked, he reportedly screamed racial slurs at the faculty member. 

On August 28, a resident reported to the front desk that they heard another resident making racist and sexual comments inside the laundry room of the residence hall. 

"This is unacceptable," university administrators said in an online statement

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"Until members of our Black community can work, and study, and live at the University of Utah without the threat of outsiders or insiders assaulting them with words and actions, it will remain unacceptable," the statement continued. 

The university has addressed prior racially-motivated incidents in recent years. 

Last December, the university had its racist-incident team investigate separate reports of men dressed like the KKK in dorms and excrement smeared on a door of a Black student’s room.

A university spokesperson said initial investigations were inconclusive but authorities reviewed the incidents again. 

The university said it has changed its policy to bolster its response to the incidents, such as strengthening the code of conduct, increasing consequences for behaviors, and raising awareness. 

"We affirm that the U community includes the Black community and other impacted communities, and we will continue to work to strengthen the protective power of inclusion, acceptance and appreciation within our collective until each of us feels welcome, whether we are professors, students, health care workers or others," administrators said. 

This story was reported from Los Angeles. The Associated Press contributed.