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Utah State Investigates Alleged Comments by President

The Utah State University Board of Trustees is hiring an independent investigator to examine allegations that Noelle Cockett, the university’s president, made discriminatory remarks about a candidate to become the university’s head football coach, The Deseret News reported.

On Friday, the football team opted out of playing a final game of the season to draw attention to its concerns. The concerns involve comments Cockett made to the team — which were not recorded — in which she is alleged to have made discriminatory statements in regard to the candidacy of interim head coach Frank Maile, who is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is of Polynesian descent. Another person was hired for the job.

Crockett issued this statement: “I am devastated that my comments were interpreted as bias against anyone’s religious background. Throughout my professional career and, especially, as president of USU, I have welcomed the opportunity to meet directly and often with students about their experiences. Regardless of how difficult the conversations might be in the coming days, I remain committed to giving our students a voice.”

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