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Wednesday PM headlines: DEI bill passes initial Senate vote, Oscar nom for Utah short film

Art for the short film Ninety-Five Senses, which features art of many styles in the center with the focus being an older man. The background is very colorful and includes the title of the film
Salt Lake Film Society
"Ninety-Five Senses," produced by the Salt Lake Film Society's MAST program, has been nominated for an Academy Award this year.

Controversial DEI bill passes initial Senate vote

A controversial bill that would replace diversity, equity and inclusion programs at Utah public colleges and universities passed an initial vote in the Senate Wednesday.

H.B. 261 would replace DEI offices with “Student Success Centers,” and ban diversity statements in state job applications. It would also prohibit mandatory trainings that “promote political ideologies.”

Those opposed to the bill say data doesn’t show any issues with DEI initiatives and that this bill would erase the visibility of different identities.

The bill passed 23-6. Due to amendments, it will have another procedural vote before returning to the House, which must vote on it again before sending it back to the Senate.

Salt Lake Film Society’s short film nominated for Oscar

The Salt Lake Film Society’s short film “Ninety-Five Senses” has been nominated for an Oscar.

It was produced by the film society’s MAST program and features the unique art styles of six different animators from the U.S. and Latin America, with mentorship from industry professionals Jared and Jerusha Hess, who directed “Napoleon Dynamite” and “Nacho Libre.”

The story is described as “an ode to the body’s five senses, delivered by a man with little time left to enjoy them.”

“Ninety-Five Senses” was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. It's currently available to watch for a limited time on MAST's Small Screenings platform.

The 96th Academy Awards will air on Sunday, March 10.

New exhibit from Navajo Nation photography class

A photography program on the Navajo Nation is closing its first session with a public exhibit at the Tsé Bii’ Ndzisgaii Community Center in Monument Valley from Jan. 25 to Feb. 15.

The photographs featured in the exhibit were created by the program’s six participants, capturing their perspectives on the importance of tradition, family and the interconnected landscape of the Navajo Nation.

The program is hosted by the Tsé Bii’ Ndzisgaii Community Center and was established by Yee Ha’ólníi Doo, an Indigenous-led nonprofit born of the COVID-19 pandemic that now focuses on food security, cultural programming, youth leadership and entrepreneurship for Navajo and Hopi families.

Currently, the program is offered at Yee Ha’ólníi Doo’s established community centers in Monument Valley, Utah and Standing Rock, New Mexico, with the potential to expand to other regions.

Duck is a general reporter and weekend announcer at UPR, and is studying broadcast journalism and disability studies at USU. They grew up in northern Colorado before moving to Logan in 2018, so the Rocky Mountain life is all they know. Free time is generally spent with their dog, Monty, listening to podcasts, reading or wishing they could be outside more.