Utah U. probing reports of KKK group in dorms

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Utah U. probing reports of KKK group in dorms

The University of Utah is investigating accusations that a group of men in Ku Klux Klan robes tried to recruit students at a dorm, school officials said.

The alleged incident occurred in October and an initial investigation was inconclusive, but university police are taking a second look after a student questioned on Instagram why it hadn’t been addressed, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

The public university in Salt Lake City is also investigating a second incident a month earlier when a black student reported returning to their dorm in the same building on Sept. 1 to find apparent feces smeared on the door.

The student, who also found a paper towel on the door handle, cleaned up the mess with the help of staffers before reporting the incident to a resident adviser, the newspaper reported.

Housing officials reviewed footage from the dorm that day and couldn’t find any possible suspects, although surveillance cameras may not have covered the area in question, a university spokesperson told the newspaper. It’s unclear which dorm the student — who was immediately moved into new housing — had been living in at the time.

University of Utah's stadium.
Students reported seeing students in the dorm recruiting for the white supremacist group.
Facebook/The University of Utah

The alleged KKK incident occurred on Oct. 1, according to the report. A resident adviser told university officials other students were overheard recalling men dressed in KKK attire, including white hooded robes, trying to recruit students inside a dorm to the white supremacist group.

The university scoured three days of video, but didn’t find anything matching that description, the university said in a statement.

Both reports are also being investigated by the university’s Racist and Bias Incident Response Team, which is expected to put out a statement on its findings later this week. The university said the incidents were “part of active and ongoing investigations.”

“Be vigilant and speak up,” the university’s statement reads. “We all have a responsibility to learn more about the variety of resources the U offers to support diversity and inclusion.”

Black Lives Matter reps in Utah, meanwhile, characterized the accusations as “beyond disturbing” and “unacceptable” in a statement to KSTU.

University of Utah's stadium.
“Be vigilant and speak up,” the university’s said in a statement.
Facebook/The University of Utah

“We stand in solidarity with those who went through these harmful experiences, the victims,” Black Lives Matter Utah said. “Utah, and Utah’s schools, including universities, need to do better at addressing and correcting anti-Black actions, especially when students of color are a marginalized party, needing support and safety.”

The group asked anyone with photo or video evidence of either purported incident to turn it over to authorities.

The allegations come after a contract worker at the university reported two students shouting a racist slur at him as he made a delivery on campus in September, the newspaper reported.

The worker relayed the incident to university officials, who identified the students responsible. They were later reprimanded, the university said in an earlier statement.

“Let me be clear: racist and hateful behavior on our campus is an offense to our entire community, particularly our communities of color,” University of Utah’s president, Taylor Randall, said at the time.

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