EDUCATION + SCHOOLS

University of Utah introducing Viewpoint Representation and Expression Task Force

Jan 25, 2024, 8:00 AM

Image of the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion office at the University of Utah. A professor who app...

FILE: The Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion office at the University of Utah is pictured on campus in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024. A professor who applied for a job at the University of Utah has filed a lawsuit claiming he is the victim of reverse discrimination. (Marielle Scott/Deseret News)

(Marielle Scott/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY —  The University of Utah wants to make sure that its campus is welcoming to all perspectives and voices. Officials say the Viewpoint Representation and Expression Task Force will work to do just that.

Before university officials announced the task force, several students were criminally charged after they interrupted a movie screening held by a conservative student group.

University of Utah President Taylor Randall said the new task force will evaluate how friendly its campus is when it comes to diverse viewpoints.

“If you look at confidence in institutions overall … there is one institution that lost more confidence with the public than any other. And, that is actually higher ed,” Randall said.

“I think this is a moment where we are having to take a sound look at ourselves and ask the question, ‘how can we actually add more value to society?'”

He said there are a few complaints when it comes to higher education. Namely, they involve degrees, tuition costs, and that (universities are) no longer a “marketplace of ideas.”

What does the Viewpoint Representation and Expression Task Force do?

The U, according to Randall, is considering different viewpoints on campus and how people express them. The overall goal is to make sure the school is a “platform where learning and expression can take place.”

Additionally, Randall said, the task force will look out for bias on campus.

“Step one is to … have this task force actually provide a description of what is going on on campus,” he said. “I’ve asked them to be very wide-ranging in this.”

Randall has asked the task force to examine speakers who come to campus. It will also examine students to see which ones feel comfortable expressing their views and which ones don’t.

“There’s the law and then there’s a culture that we can set on campus,” he said. “We’re hoping … to reframe the culture around dignified speech.”

How to balance protests and freedom of speech

In the past, students have protested speakers at the U. The Viewpoint Representation and Expression Task Force will work to allow future protests while still letting speakers talk freely.

“Protest is permissible on a college campus,” he said. “We can regulate time, place, and manner. And, one of the things that we have to do is ensure that all viewpoints, no matter how disparaging they may be to other groups, are actually allowed to (be heard) on campus.”

This is a “low bar,” according to Randall. It most likely “will not move society forward in a positive way.”

“Part of what we would like to do is really get input from these individual groups, and say, ‘how could we actually make these productive dialogues?'” he said.

Randall is hoping the task force will find solutions, or, at least, ways for everyone on campus to coexist.

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard on weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Education + Schools

the state capitol is pictured, the utah supreme court is seeking more information about a redistric...

Adam Small

Utah lawmakers pass two school security bills

The Utah Legislature passed two school security bills. One of them deals with concealed carry incentives for teachers.

1 day ago

Generic image of crime scene tape. A man and a woman were shot in a home in Naples, forcing the nea...

Michael Houck

Shooting near Naples Elementary School forces lockdown, two victims hospitalized

A man and a woman were shot in a home in Naples, forcing the nearby Naples Elementary School to lockdown Wednesday afternoon.

2 days ago

Students walk to their buses after school at Rose Springs Elementary in Erda, Tooele County, on Thu...

Jessica Lowell & Devin Oldroyd

Application process for the Utah Fits All Scholarship now open

The application for the Utah Fits All Scholarship is now open. The scholarship will allow families to apply for up to $8,000 of state funds.

2 days ago

taylor swift performing eras tour concert, a new class at weber state focuses on swift...

SAM HERRERA, KSL NEWSRADIO AND MIKE ANDERSON, KSL TV

Weber State University to offer class on Taylor Swift this fall

The Weber State University Taylor Swift class was offered for the first time this spring and filled up quickly.

3 days ago

cellphone schools...

Peter Johnston

Bill that would remove competency test requirement for teachers looks ready to pass

Currently, those pursuing a teaching license in Utah are required to pass a classroom management test. However, it could disappear from Utah's teaching licensure requirements if a bill passes the Senate this week.

3 days ago

After starting the new year with poor air quality, Utah may finally be able to take a breath and fi...

Heather Peterson

New black carbon sensor is more portable but just as accurate, study finds

A new study from the University of Utah finds that recently released black carbon new units are just as accurate in detecting black carbon, but they are more portable and affordable.

3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

University of Utah introducing Viewpoint Representation and Expression Task Force