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PM News Brief: Rules On Teaching Race, Another Utah Bound Olympic Gymnast & Mike Leavitt Hits A New Note

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
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Former Utah Governor Mike Leavitt will be the new president of Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square. This story and more in Friday evening's news brief.

Friday evening, Aug. 6, 2021

State

Board of Education Adopts Rules On Teaching About Race

The Utah Board of Education has finalized its rule on how teachers can talk about race in their classrooms. It follows a heated national debate around Critical Race Theory, the once-obscure academic concept that examines systemic racism. Utah’s new rule says teachers can't promote the idea that one race is inherently better than another or imply that students should feel guilty for the past actions of people of the same race. It passed without amendments from board member Natalie Cline, a vocal opponent of CRT. Cline wanted to punish teachers if they taught concepts like white fragility and cultural awareness. — Jon Reed

Northern Utah

The Air Is Disgusting. Experts Say Don’t Go Outside.

Northern Utah is experiencing some of the worst air quality of the summer because of wildfires in other states, and health officials are encouraging people to avoid outdoor activities. The smoke is coming from Northern California wildfires. There’s only one large fire burning in Utah right now at 509 acres. Fire officials are urging people to be careful because new starts will be hard to identify because of air pollution. Health officials are asking people to keep windows and doors closed and say masks can block particulate matter and protect you from COVID-19. Read the full story.Lexi Peery

New U President Has “Big Ambitions”

Taylor Randall is the University of Utah’s new president, beating out over 2,500 candidates from around the world and two out-of-state finalists. He’s been at the U since 1999 and served as dean of the business school. Randall is taking over for former president Ruth Watkins. She’s been praised as a master fundraiser and for her role in boosting graduation rates, but also faced criticism during her tenure for the way she handled student-athlete Lauren McCluskey’s murder. Randall said his role will be to listen to the campus community to understand issues and find solutions. He said he’d strive to make the U the most inclusive school in the state. Read the full story. — Jon Reed

From The Capitol To The Choir

Former Utah Governor Mike Leavitt will be the new president of Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square. He will be in charge of operations, employees, volunteers and marketing for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ organization. Leavitt served as governor from 1993 to 2003. He replaces former choir president Ronald Jarrett. He’ll also be joined by his wife Jackie in the new role. — Caroline Ballard

Another Olympic Gymnast Bound For Utah Red Rocks

Another Olympic medalist will be joining the University of Utah gymnastics team. Amelie Morgan was part of Great Britain’s all-around bronze medal winning team at the Tokyo Olympics this summer. The University of Utah announced Friday she will begin competing for the Utes in the 2022 season. Morgan will join team USA silver medalist Grace McCallum and alternate Kara Eaker on the Utah team. — Caroline Ballard

Region/Nation

Denver Police Union Fights Vaccination Requirement

Denver is requiring city employees to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by September 30th, but the police union is pushing back. In a statement to the news site Denverite, the Denver Police Protective Association said “Our members can be trusted with their personal decisions.” Health experts say public servants should get vaccinated to avoid exposing the community. — Maggie Mullen, Mountain West News Bureau