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Police investigating bomb threat against U of U Black Cultural Center

Utah Black Cultural Center
Posted at 11:47 AM, Jan 11, 2022

SALT LAKE CITY — University of Utah Police are investigating a bomb threat made against the school's Black Cultural Center early Tuesday.

No bombs were found, but officials continue to investigate to determine the people responsible.

According to police, a call was placed to a crisis center in California alleging that a bomb was placed in the building on the Salt Lake City campus. Officers responded at 4:25 a.m. with bomb-sniffing dogs and searched the center.

"The nature of this being directed at the Black Cultural Center makes it particularly disturbing," said Police Chief Jason Hinojosa. "Given that they were singled out. So we’re taking this very seriously and we’ve engaged with the FBI to help us out on this case."

Due to there being no immediate threat, Hinojosa determined a warning through the campus alert system was not necessary.

An incident report from school police said similar threats were made against several other universities.

"The University of Utah is not a haven for this kind of hateful and biased thinking and attacks, and university leaders have committed to completing a thorough review with actionable steps to be implemented during the spring semester," police wrote.

“This affects all of us and all of us need to examine ourselves and take action,” University of Utah President Taylor Randall said in a video statement.

This threat is another major reported racist incident at the U this school year. In the fall semester, an Instagram post claimed students walked through residence halls wearing KKK uniforms and smeared feces on Black student’s door.

READ: U of U police investigating alleged racist incident

“I think what is frustrating here is this is the third and fourth such statement that we have had to make,” said Randall.

The university believes it is not likely the person who made the threat is a member of the U community.

“Any type of threat, especially when you’re talking about bomb threats or death threats or any those type of threats, it has to be taken very seriously and it has to be investigated,” said Jeanetta Williams, president of the NAACP Salt Lake City branch.

In the video statement, Randall said it is time to re-examine student and faculty codes and open up spaces for dialogue.

“There are many in our community who feel these threats on a daily basis. That is not the kind of community that we are trying to build here. It’s not the kind of community we want to live in,” he said.

The university understands threats like this can be traumatizing for students and staff, and officials said they want to remind them that resources are available.

In a statement sent to FOX 13 News, the university wrote: “The University Counseling Center, MH1 (Mental Health First Responders for students living in Housing & Residential Education), and counselors in Athletics are on standby ready to assist members of our community who are struggling, processing, or otherwise would like support related to this incident, now or in the future.”