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AM News Brief: USU coach apology, new state legislator & Latino vaccination rates

A snowy field with foot prints lead to a large, historic university building. There are snow-capped mountains in the background.
Beth Wilson
Utah State University’s head football coach apologized Friday for his offensive comments about victims of sexual assault. That story and more in this morning's news brief.

Monday morning, Dec. 20, 2021


Social media threats force schools to heighten security measures

Recent threats of violence on social media prompted some Utah schools to heighten safety precautions. A TikTok trend circulating last week suggested there could be numerous school shootings on Dec. 17. The threat was not deemed credible by school officials, but it did cause panic for some educators and parents. And at some schools, there was also an increased police presence. Pamela Brubaker, associate professor at Brigham Young University, co-authored a study about trolling and threats on social media. She said the motive behind this kind of post is to instigate a reaction. Sgt. Jeremy Barnes, school safety liaison for the Utah Department of Public Safety, said they were aware of the social media trend but need to treat these situations on a case-by-case basis. Read the full story. — Ivana Martinez

Northern Utah

Utah State University football coach apologizes for offensive remarks

Utah State University’s head football coach apologized Friday for his offensive comments about victims of sexual assault. Coach Blake Anderson made the statement after the Salt Lake Tribune published a recording of him telling his players that it has “never been more glamorized to be the victim.” Lawyers for a student used the recording in a Title IX lawsuit against the school. The student said the university mishandled her report that a football player sexually assaulted her. In Friday’s statement, Anderson said he regretted his choice of words and called them hurtful. He told his team that they need to do everything possible to protect “victims of wrongdoing.” He added that “anyone who knows me knows how strongly I feel about this.” The USU police chief resigned last Thursday because of his comments in another recording. Despite the controversy, the football team won a major game against Oregon State over the weekend. — Leah Treidler

Davis County Republicans elect new state legislator

Davis County Republican delegates elected Karen Peterson to the state House of Representatives on Saturday. She will replace former Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, who resigned to take a job at the Utah Department of Health and Human Services. Peterson currently serves as the legislative affairs director for Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson and previously worked as an education advisor for former Gov. Gary Herbert. — Sonja Hutson


Latino vaccination rates lag behind in Mountain West states

According to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation, many Mountain West states are still lagging when it comes to vaccinating Latinos against COVID-19. In Nevada, about half the Hispanic population has gotten the shot. Diana Sande helps lead outreach in Spanish for the state. She said most Latinos want to get vaccinated, but the state needs to meet them where they are. Only one other state in the region has vaccinated a higher percentage of its Hispanic population: New Mexico, at 62%. In Utah, 49% of Latinos are fully vaccinated — tying with Nevada for second place. — Bert Johnson & Dave Rosenthal, Mountain West News Bureau

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