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BYU fans, students react to offensive chant during BYU-Oregon football game

Posted at 6:30 PM, Sep 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-18 20:31:01-04

PROVO, Utah — An offensive chant directed toward BYU fans and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints could be heard during the Cougars' 41-20 loss against Oregon in Eugene on Saturday.

Aubrey, a graduate of Brigham Young University and member of the church, was at the game with one of her close friends from college.

She and her friend have made it almost a yearly tradition since they graduated from BYU to see a game at an opposing team's stadium.

It was at the game on Saturday that Aubrey heard a profanity-laced chant coming from several members of the Oregon student section next to where she was sitting.

That's when she pulled out her phone and started recording — a video that has since gone viral and garnered reactions from near and far.

"My first video was actually the third time the chant occurred," she said. "I didn't want to go over and yell at them because I felt that would make the situation worse."

However, she says, the same chant continued at least two more times.

"I was thinking, you know, 'I really just need to find someone who works for the University of Oregon or who works at the stadium,'" Aubrey said.

She said she was eventually directed to a crowd management staff member, and she told the employee what was happening.

"She was upset that they were chanting that," Aubrey said. "I don't know whether she heard it before or not, but when I told her, she said they shouldn't be chanting that."

Aubrey said she also spoke with another staff member, who told her they would see if the stadium could make an announcement about it. Aubrey said that never happened, however.

The BYU alumna told FOX 13 News on Sunday that she had never been to a game where that kind of chant was used before.

Back in Provo on Sunday, BYU students and other residents of the area had differing opinions about what took place.

"It's disheartening, you know, just because we need to support everyone," said Jessica Kempter, an elementary school teacher who lives in Provo. "There's no reason to be biased against or stereotyped against."

"It's just trash talk, I guess," said Eli Wilder Dean, a junior at BYU. "I mean, it's not like it's not great."

The videos of the chant caught the attention of Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, who reacted to it on his personal, verified Twitter account.

"Religious bigotry alive and celebrated in Oregon," Cox wrote.

The Oregon Pit Crew, the official Twitter account for the university's student section, put out a statement Saturday night, apologizing to BYU fans who attended the game.

The University of Oregon released an apologetic statement as well, saying they "can and will do better as a campus community that has no place for hate, bias or bigotry."

"We can't control what people say, but at least the state and the college understand that it's not okay," said Kempter.

Aubrey hopes these videos won't have a negative impact on the educational career of the students involved. Instead, she's hoping this will serve as a learning experience for them and others.

"There's an unfortunate acceptance in a lot of areas that you don't make fun of a lot of religions, but Mormons are free game to make fun of and I would like that to stop," she said.

FOX 13 News reached out to the Pac-12 Conference on Sunday, and they said they fully support the University of Oregon's statement.