Utah Democrats have decided to re-examine the manner in which the party handled allegations of sexual harassment several years ago, in light of the allegations made against members of the Salt Lake County Republican Party. After examination, it is the belief of the Utah Democratic Party that the several women who came forward years ago with allegations were not treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. The party did not give the women involved an opportunity to speak, and therefore failed to complete an investigation.
“On behalf of myself and the Utah Democratic Party, I want to apologize directly to those involved in this situation and to every member of our party for how this situation was handled. Neither I nor any other member of our current leadership can take responsibility for our predecessors. What we can do is commit to making our community a safer and more respectful place.” said Jeff Merchant, Party Chair.
As an institution, the Utah Democratic Party has long stood for the protection of all people. In particular, Democrats have fought tirelessly for the rights of women in Utah, in the United States, and around the globe. Nevertheless, recent events have reminded everyone — regardless of political persuasion — that allegations of sexual harassment should be taken seriously and acted upon swiftly. The Utah Democratic Party apologizes deeply for its institutional failures, and today we renew our commitment to stopping harassment in all its forms within our ranks.
Utah Democrats are committed to not allowing such failures to occur in the future. We are proud of the harassment protections and policies we implemented in 2019, among the only such policies adopted by any state party in the United States. But policies and procedures are only one step. As an institution, we commit to addressing the broad cultural issues involving harassment against all people and marginalized communities within our party and outside of it. In the process of our reconciliation, the UDP will work to both swiftly address any new allegations or concerns and to reach out to the victims of previous harassment to apologize, understand, and seek to remedy lingering concerns.
Utah Democrats stand strongly opposed to a culture in which individuals experience harassment in personal and professional spaces and will continue to work to build a welcoming community and focus on policy and action that demands justice and accountability.