As part of an effort to “increase dialogue and understanding,” the University of Utah has launched a “presidential anti-racism task force” in the wake of racist graffiti and an event featuring conservative commentator Ben Shapiro.
According to a letter sent out by university president David Pershing, the task force will “work on developing and deploying actions on our campus that can increase dialogue and understanding among students, staff, and faculty from different racial and ethnic backgrounds.”
“Our anti-discrimination policies are robust,” the letter continued, “but we recognize that we need to take stronger actions.”
The task force was announced following several instances of racially charged graffiti and vandalism, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. In August, two signs were posted on the campus which read “Stop the Blacks” and displayed a URL to a white nationalist website. In October, vandals painted a racial slur targeting blacks, which led to the arrests of three local high school students.
The University of Utah deans issued a statement saying that “these incidents are not isolated and we understand that they are signs of deep racial and gender biases (among other bigotries) that have been perpetuated in our country for now hundreds of years.”
“We are committed to gaining a more complex understanding of issues that challenge the respectful climate an academic setting demands,” the statement continued. “These include racial microaggressions, biases against women and LGBTQ+ individuals, and intolerance towards people’s citizenship status, disabilities, politics, and religion.”
In an interview with The Tribune, University of Utah spokesman Christopher Nelson also pointed toward a recent speech on the university’s campus by conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro. According to The Tribune, Nelson asserted that “the charged rhetoric of the speaker, supporters and opponents raised the issue of balancing free speech and civil dialogue on campus.” The event turned partially violent, as multiple scuffles led to the arrests of two individuals.
Original Article – College Fix