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University Of Utah Forms Anti-Racism Task Force

Julia Ritchey
Protesters march before a campus lecture by conservative author Ben Shapiro in Sept. 2017.

The University of Utah is forming an Anti-Racism Task Force following several incidents on campus.

University President David Pershing announced the new group in an email to students, faculty and staff on Thursday.

He says the group will come up with ways to increase dialogue and understanding among students and staff from different racial and ethnic backgrounds.

The action comes after at least two separate episodes on campus, one involving white supremacist posters hung in the Student Life Center over the summer.

And, more recently, a racial slur graffitied on a university construction site earlier this month.


"A series of events on our campus this fall has heightened a broad recognition of the need for reflection, resolve, and swift action to address racism," wrote Pershing.

Pershing says he regrets that it took more overt acts of racism to bring the task force to life, and says the university needs to do more to address “racism, bias and hate.”

University of Utah: New anti-racism task force announced by KUER News

Julia joined KUER in 2016 after a year reporting at the NPR member station in Reno, Nev. During her stint, she covered battleground politics, school overcrowding, and any story that would take her to the crystal blue shores of Lake Tahoe. Her work earned her two regional Edward R. Murrow awards. Originally from the mountains of Western North Carolina, Julia graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2008 with a degree in journalism. She’s worked as both a print and radio reporter in several states and several countries — from the 2008 Beijing Olympics to Dakar, Senegal. Her curiosity about the American West led her to take a spontaneous, one-way road trip to the Great Basin, where she intends to continue preaching the gospel of community journalism, public radio and podcasting. In her spare time, you’ll find her hanging with her beagle Bodhi, taking pictures of her food and watching Patrick Swayze movies.
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