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PM News Brief: BYU Hate Speech, College Vaccine Mandates & Rental Assistance Needs

Photo of a bus stop on the University of Utah campus.
Brian Albers
/
KUER
The University of Utah announced Friday it will require students to be vaccinated for COVID-19. This story and more in Friday evening's news brief.

Friday evening, Aug. 27, 2021

State

Court Denies Claud “Rick” Koerber Appeal

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the convictions of former real estate investor Claud “Rick” Koerber. He was first indicted in 2009 by a federal grand jury in the Utah district. Koerber was charged with mail fraud, wire fraud and tax evasion. In later years, he faced more charges. Koerber was eventually sentenced to a little more than 14 years in prison and ordered to pay $45 million in restitution. Acting U.S. Attorney Andrea Martinez said in a press release, this case should be a reminder to potential fraudsters that they will be caught and punished. — Ross Terrell

Northern Utah

Voting Advocates To March In Salt Lake City This Weekend 

Voting rights advocates are holding a march Saturday in Salt Lake City to demand Utah politicians fight misinformation and support policies that make voting easier. Voting access in Utah is actually pretty good, according to Darlene McDonald, founder of the 1Utah Project, which organized the march. She said the state’s universal vote-by-mail and same day registration are something Utah politicians should champion, instead of spreading disinformation about election security. The march in Salt Lake City is part of a national day of action to commemorate the anniversary of the March on Washington. Read the full story. — Sonja Hutson 

Video Surfaces Showing Anti-LGBTQ Behavior At BYU 

A video circulating online shows someone pouring liquid on rainbow chalk drawings and saying a homophobic slur at Brigham Young University. The chalk-art was described on Twitter as showing a message of love and empathy for LGBTQ+ students. BYU posted a statement on Twitter Friday in response to the video. It says they “unequivocally condemn behavior and language that is disrespectful and hurtful.” The university’s statement said the incident is under review for violating the school’s Honor Code. This comes just days after a top leader for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gave a controversial speech on campus. During his talk, Jeffrey R. Holland called on BYU staff to stand committed to the Church’s stance against same-sex marriage. — Lexi Peery 

University Of Utah To Require COVID Vaccine For Students 

The University of Utah announced Friday it will require students to be vaccinated for COVID-19. The move is now possible because federal authorities gave non-emergency use approval to the Pfizer vaccines. A state law said government agencies, like universities, couldn’t have a mandate until a vaccine received that authorization. The U said at least two-thirds of its students are already fully vaccinated. University officials plan to share a more detailed plan with students early next week. They say they are also talking to state leaders about a requirement for faculty and staff. The Salt Lake Tribune reported Utah State will also issue a vaccine mandate. — Ross Terrell

Tony Hawk In Salt Lake For New Skate Course Opening

Big names in the skateboarding world like Tony Hawk and Olympian Nyjah Huston are in Salt Lake City this weekend for the opening of a new street skating course and festival. It’s an expansion of the Vans Utah Sports Commission Skate Park, which first opened in 2019. The new part of the park officially opened Friday and will feature more elements like rails, stairs and boxes. To break in the new course, Street League Skateboarding is putting on a competition this weekend. The finals will take place Saturday. Skateboarding made its debut as an Olympic sport this summer in Tokyo. — Caroline Ballard

Region/Nation

Utah Marine One of 13 Killed in Kabul Airport Attack

The Deseret News reported one of the Marines killed in Thursday’s blast in Kabul was from Utah. Staff Sergeant Taylor Hoover is among the 13 service members killed in the attack on the Kabul airport. His Facebook page says he graduated from Hillcrest High School in Midvale. Members of Utah's Congressional delegation tweeted their condolences to Hoover's family and loved ones. Gov. Spencer Cox said in a tweet he spoke with Hoover's parents today, and told them Utah mourned with them. — Caroline Ballard

Need For Rental Assistance Could Be On The Rise 

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling to end the federal eviction moratorium deepens the need for rental assistance aid. But as evictions resume, many Western states have approved just a fraction of those funds. Data from the National Low Income Housing Coalition show Utah leads the region with roughly 20% of its first round of funds approved. Colorado and New Mexico are a few points behind that. Idaho is at 11%. Other Western states are in the single digits with Wyoming dead last at about 2%. — Robyn Vincent, Mountain West News Bureau