AP NEWS

University of Utah says car marked with N-word on MLK Day

January 22, 2020 GMT

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Multiple people are responsible for the writing of the N-word on a frosty car windshield shortly before Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations at the University of Utah and “appropriate actions” are being taken, school officials said Tuesday.

Monday’s vandalism is not considered a criminal because it did not cause permanent damage but, in a letter shared with students and faculty, president Ruth Watkins and other officials said the act was serious, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

“This word evokes white supremacy, reminds us that a violent, racist past is still with us today, and invokes fear at a time when we strive to ensure that all our staff, students and faculty find their place as part of our campus community,” the letter said.

The university said the “multiple individuals” involved have been identified but it will not say what actions have been taken. It’s not clear if they are students.

University spokeswoman Annalisa Purser declined to say whether the car belonged to a student and/or a person of color.

“We’re not sure if it was targeted,” she said. “We’re still gathering details.”

The school is hoping to release more details later this week, Purser said.

The university along with other schools in Utah have been targeted by white nationalist groups trying to recruit members. In February 2019, Identity Evropa, which is designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, hiked the hill to the concrete block “U” above the university and laid down a banner that said “End immigration!” Those involved said it was done to retaliate against Watkins for denouncing the group’s actions at the school.