PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The University of Oregon says it apologizes for the behavior of student fans at the Saturday football game against Brigham Young University after video showed students chanting hateful phrases.
In the video, students can be heard chanting “F— the Mormons.”
Utah Gov. Spencer Cox retweeted the video and said, “Religious bigotry alive and celebrated in Oregon.”
Aubrey, who didn’t want to share her last name, said she recorded the video that’s circulating. She said the chanting started earlier, and she didn’t start recording until students did it a third time.
“The student section definitely knew I was upset and one of the Oregon fans behind me leaned over and said, essentially, ‘Be kind to them. They’re freshmen.’ Which was really disappointing because that is an acknowledgment that that person knew that what they were doing was wrong,” she said.
Aubrey, a BYU alumna and a Mormon, said she tried talking to crowd control employees and was told there would be an announcement made in the stadium asking fans to stop the chants. She said the announcement never came.
“It seems that [Americans] really try to respect certain religions, but the Mormon Church has never been one of them,” she said. “It seems like it’s still OK to make fun of Mormons. And that happens in front of me all the time and I would like it to stop.”
The Oregon Pit Crew, which helps organize the student section at sporting events, tweeted a response to the offensive chants Saturday night.
“To all @BYUfootball fans in attendance at todays (sic) game we would like to apologize for the actions of the students in attendance. We do not condone or support any hateful speech directed towards one’s religion and are ashamed of those who participated,” the Oregon Pit Crew said.
Kris Winter, interim vice president for the Division of Student Life at the University of Oregon, also issued a statement in which he called the chants “despicable.”
The University of Oregon tweeted a statement in response to the students’ behavior:
“The University of Oregon sincerely apologizes for an offensive and disgraceful chant coming from the student section during yesterday’s game against Brigham Young University. These types of actions go against everything the university stands for, and it goes against the spirit of competition. We can and will do better as a campus community that has no place for hate, bias or bigotry.”
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown retweeted the University of Oregon’s statement and said, “In Oregon, we strive to be a welcoming, inclusive state to all, regardless of race, religion, gender, or background. Our state and nation have an ugly history of discrimination and bigotry. The chant at yesterday’s Oregon-BYU game was unacceptable. We must do better.”
Ahead of Saturday’s game, BYU’s football team entered Autzen Stadium holding an Oregon flag with the name “Webb” and the number 18 on it to honor Spencer Webb, an Oregon Ducks tight end who died in a fall in July.
Aubrey traveled to the University of Oregon game from the Washington, D.C. area. She tries to attend a BYU football away game every year. After this experience, she doesn’t expect she will return for another game at Autzen Stadium.
BYU recently investigated its fans after they were accused of directing racial slurs toward a Duke volleyball player during a match last month. The university said it found no evidence to support the claim but reiterated it would not tolerate any conduct that threatens a student-athlete.
Nexstar’s KOIN reached out to Brigham Young University and the school’s athletic department for comment, but had not received a response as of Monday.