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PM News Brief: UnsafeU Rally, Navajo Nation Sues Over Census & Political Cartoons

Photo of the U sign on the university of utah campus
Brian Albers
Around 40 people rallied Thursday afternoon outside University of Utah President Ruth Watkins’ office, calling for her resignation. That story and more in this evening's news brief.

Thursday evening, September 3, 2020


Teachers In Utah At Highest Risk For Catching COVID-19

Teachers in Utah have a higher risk of catching COVID-19 than educators in any other state in the nation, according to a report from Insurify. The analysis noted that Utah has above average access to healthcare and teacher unions have a strong influence, but the state’s large class sizes, low per-student funding and “below average” reopening plans are putting teachers at high risk. Read the full story. — Sonja Hutson

Traveling For Labor Day? Get A Head Start

Labor Day weekend traffic is expected to pick up starting Thursday afternoon according to the Utah Department of Transportation. Drivers are advised to avoid northbound I-15 in Davis County through 6:30 p.m. Friday afternoon, and Uthans could see heavier traffic on I-15 and I-80 in Salt Lake County. UDOT said in general, travelers should plan ahead for traffic through Monday. But, traffic levels are still slightly below average due to COVID-19. — Caroline Ballard

Utah Reports Most COVID Cases Since Aug. 14

Utah health officials reported 504 new COVID-19 cases Thursday. It’s the first time officials announced more than 500 cases in a single day since mid-August and then, numbers were artificially high due to a lab reporting delay. Meanwhile, the Cache County sheriff’s office reported Wednesday 46 inmates there have tested positive for the disease, but the sheriff says 45 of them were asymptomatic. State health officials also announced four more people have died due to COVID-19. All were males and hospitalized at the time of their death. — Ross Terrell

New Unemployment Claims Continue To Fall

New claims for traditional unemployment benefits in Utah continue to fall according to numbers released Thursday from the Department of Workforce Services. Claims last week were down 13% compared to the week before. Still, Utah paid out nearly $12 million in benefits, but as the economy re-opens and coronavirus restrictions ease up, the number of people ending their claims remained in the 7,000s for the third straight week. — Ross Terrell

Northern Utah

Student Group UnsafeU Rally For University of Utah President To Resign

Around 40 people rallied Thursday afternoon outside University of Utah President Ruth Watkins’ office, calling for her resignation. Devon Cantwell, with the student-led group UnsafeU, said the Watkins administration’s handling of Title IX, or sexual discrimination, cases on campus has made them doubt her leadership. Cantwell said the university’s response to Lauren McCluskey’s murder on campus catalyzed the group’s formation. UnsafeU is also pushing for the abolition of the university police department and requesting that its funding goes toward student support services instead. In a statement, the university invited the student group to discuss their concerns with Watkins. — Emily Means

Salt Lake Tribune Criticized For Cartoon About Police

Rep. Chris Stewart, R-UT, joined the Utah Sheriffs’ Association Thursday morning on Twitter in criticizing Salt Lake Tribune cartoonist Pat Bagley for a cartoon Stewart called “extremely dangerous.” The image shows a policeman and a doctor looking at an x-ray of the officer. A Ku Klux Klan hood makes up part of the officer’s skeleton with the caption, “Well, there’s your problem.” In a tweet, Bagley said he was illustrating that white supremacy is an issue among law enforcement, not that all police are racist. Stewart demanded the Tribune retract the cartoon and apologize. A pro-police organization plans to protest the newspaper Thursday evening. — Emily Means

Southern Utah

Navajo Nation Sues Over U.S. Census Bureau Count

The Navajo Nation is suing the U.S. Census Bureau over its decision to finish the 2020 population count at the end of the month. The Bureau previously said it would extend the count through the end of October to make up for COVID-related delays, which impacted the Navajo Nation. James Tucker, an attorney with the Native American Rights Fund, said the lawsuit is unlikely to succeed in time to make a difference. If a decision is made in favor of the Navajo Nation, the Bureau could appeal it prolonging the litigation, and there’s a Constitutional deadline to deliver census results by the end of the year. — Kate Groetzinger, Bluff

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