It was brought to our attention this week that posters were put out on campus with the phrase “It’s Okay to be White” written on them. As your student government, we wanted to inform students that these posters were in violation of our university’s posting policy and must be taken down if seen on campus. The intent of these posters is unclear due to the fact that as an institution, the University of Utah promotes the acceptance of all identities, as stated in the non-discrimination clause that we do not “[…] discriminate against any person on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, or protected veterans.” As such, any race, ethnicity, or color is, indeed, okay, and we want to express that all students should feel safe and welcome at the University of Utah.
Similar posters were placed on college campuses across the country, and as the Office of Equity and Diversity and a number of national media outlets have noted, this seems to be a nationwide effort to to divide college campuses. Your student government is aware of the recent events on campus and that these posters could have possibly been put up maliciously to elicit an emotional reaction and create division at our University. If this is the case, we encourage all students to remove these posters, as they not only breach our institution’s posting policy but may also intend to challenge the inclusive values of our institution.
There has been no indication that these postings were placed on campus by students, so we want to remind our community members to remain vigilant about and cognizant of our values and goals as an inclusive and accepting institution. If there are any cases of bias incidents that occur on campus, we encourage our students to file reports with the Office of Equal Opportunity, which can be found at https://inclusive-excellence.utah.edu/report-form.php.