The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

Write for Us
Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor, send us an op-ed pitch or check out our open positions for the chance to be published by the Daily Utah Chronicle.
@TheChrony
Print Issues

Utah School Board Member Natalie Cline Faces Calls for Resignation After Questioning Student’s Gender

A Facebook post on Tuesday, which has since been taken down, has led to social media uproar and scrutiny of the board member.
Utah State school board member Natalie Cline. (Courtesy of Utah State Board of Education)
Utah State school board member Natalie Cline. (Courtesy of Utah State Board of Education)

 

A Utah high school student is now under police protection after a member of the Utah State school board, Natalie Cline, publicly suggested Tuesday the student was transgender without evidence.

On her public Facebook page, Cline made a since-deleted post that included a flyer for a high school girls’ basketball team, writing “’Girls’ basketball,’” to imply one of the pictured players is not female and shouldn’t be able to play.

That incited anger among many of Cline’s followers, leading many to respond in the comments by threatening the girl, calling her vulgar names as well as identifying her and her school. The student in the picture is not transgender, according to Equality Utah.

Granite School District said in a statement they have “significant concerns with the apparent intent of Board Member Cline’s post and are working to ensure the safety and wellbeing of this student.”

The Daily Utah Chronicle is not naming the school or the student’s name to protect her identity.

Cline made a statement on Facebook on Thursday that acknowledged her post led to “personal information as well as derogatory comments about the player” to be made by several commenters.

“To protect the player, I have removed the post,” Cline wrote in her post. “My deepest apologies for the negative attention my post drew to innocent students and their families.”

Gov. Spencer Cox and Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson released a statement on Wednesday where they said they were “stunned to learn of the unconscionable behavior” of Cline.

Cline has been scrutinized a handful of times for previous social media comments that she’s made during her time on the board, which started when she was elected in November 2020.

“Sadly, this is not the first time that board member Cline has embarrassed the state of Utah and State Board of Education,” Cox and Henderson wrote in their statement. “We urge the State Board of Education to hold her accountable and we commend Granite School District for taking swift action to protect this student’s safety and well-being.”

On Thursday, leaders of the Utah State Board of Education promised to take “prompt action” against Cline. The board has received at least 180 complaints about Cline’s post as of midday Thursday, according to its records officer. 

“We are deeply saddened by the events that have taken place,” the board wrote in their statement, “and will be taking prompt action regarding this matter as determined by the full board.”

But the board’s leadership did reiterate it has “no power or authority to unseat an elected official.” Utah House Democrats, though, have called for the immediate resignation of Cline, saying her “repeated misconduct highlights her unsuitability” to be a school board member.

State Sen. Kirk Cullimore (R-Sandy), who is an attorney, told the Salt Lake Tribune that according to his analysis, the Utah Legislature does have the authority to impeach Cline. But Cullimore said he’s not sure whether that’s the right move.

Rep. Brian King (D-Salt Lake City) said on X, formerly known as Twitter, that Cline needs to resign. If she won’t resign, we need to take action to impeach her.

While members of the school board cannot be unseated, they can be censured. The board can also vote to formally disapprove of her comments.

The board did do this once with Cline in fall 2021 when they issued a letter of reprimand to Cline in response to a social media post she made that was critical of LGBTQ students and led to some of her followers to threaten violence. That was the first time the board has ever taken disciplinary action against a member.

Cline’s term ends this November, and she has filed to run again. She faces Amanda B. Bollinger, who is a longtime administrator in Jordan School District, and Will Shiflett, who oversees a business program at Salt Lake Community College and has filed as the sole Democrat.

The race is for District 9, which encompasses southern Salt Lake County and northern Utah County.

 

[email protected]

@Andrewwriter01

View Comments (5)
About the Contributor
Andrew Christiansen, Online Managing Editor
Andrew Christiansen was the Assistant Editor of the news desk at the Chrony for a year before becoming Online Managing Editor in May 2023. He graduated from Salt Lake Community College with his associate degree in journalism and digital media in 2021. Andrew has also been a SLUG Magazine contributor since the summer of 2021 and has interned for KUER and The Salt Lake Tribune. When not writing or editing, Andrew can be found at concerts around Salt Lake (his favorite venues are Kilby Court and the Urban Lounge), watching movies at Salt Lake Film Society, or out on walks and hikes listening to music and podcasts.

Comments (5)

We welcome feedback and dialogue from our community. However, when necessary, The Daily Utah Chronicle reserves the right to remove user comments. Posts may be removed for any of the following reasons: • Comments on a post that do not relate to the subject matter of the story • The use of obscene, threatening, defamatory, or harassing language • Comments advocating illegal activity • Posts violating copyrights or trademarks • Advertisement or promotion of commercial products, services, entities, or individuals • Duplicative comments by the same user. In the case of identical comments only the first submission will be posted. Users who habitually post comments or content that must be removed can be blocked from the comment section.
All The Daily Utah Chronicle Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • L

    Layla GuranFeb 13, 2024 at 6:17 pm

    Disappointing to see the very harmful actions taken by this school board member not once, but twice. She needs to be held accountable given that her biases are now impacting and harassing children. Time to go!

    Reply
  • A

    Andre MontoyaFeb 12, 2024 at 1:46 pm

    It’s very sad to see that an elected schoolboard member is “transvestigating” kids.

    Reply
  • J

    John HedbergFeb 9, 2024 at 6:45 am

    I’d like to see evidence that anyone was threatened with violence in regard to the public discussion going on right now across the country about whether it’s fair to genetic females (XX chromosomes) to have to compete against genetic males (XY chromosomes), no matter how they identify, since science and nature, along with thousands of years of observation, seem to conclude that the molecular structure of genetic males gives them a high probability of advanced performance in any physical activity that mirrors the activities of hunting and combat, essentially any physical sport.

    If The Chronic has any specific evidence they’ve obtained that anyone is threatening violence or has committed any, wouldn’t it be the definition of responsible journalists to list each of those incidents, rather than drumming up anti-women fear and rhetoric with blanket statements about an “oppression” which appears to be falling primarily on genetic females, and not on the genetic males (no matter how they identify) who are outperforming them in virtually every hunter-adjacent sport?

    On the other hand, I’ve read numerous articles in real journalism about Marxist-Equity rioters threatening and physically abusing genetic women who come to peacefully address and discuss this issue. For instance, Riley Gaines has said repeatedly that she supports transgender people, just not genetic males competing against genetic females, since this marginalizes outcomes and opportunities for genetic females in nearly every single instance, and it would be perfectly easy to have trans teams with shared genetics who compete against each other instead, in the name of fairness to everyone equally.

    Meanwhile, Riley Gaines has been shouted down, hounded, and even physically assaulted by Marxist-Equity Red Guard who claim to be threatening and attacking her in the name of compassion, just not compassion for the millions of genetic women they attempt to silence whom her voice represents.

    Perhaps, along with all their hate-rhetoric towards women asking for equal fairness, The Chronic and other Equity bigots will provide us with evidence that any trans women have actually been threatened or assaulted the way Riley Gaines has been on almost a daily basis, just for speaking her lived experiences and those of other women, and just for asking for an open public discussion, rather than a Terrible Two’s tantrum? 😋

    Reply
    • J

      JamieFeb 16, 2024 at 3:49 pm

      “I’d like to see evidence that anyone was threatened with violence”

      After Cline posted the flyer about the girls’ basketball team, implying one of the girls was not female (even though she was actually born a girl), Cline’s followers descended on the post like a plague of locusts and left offensive, threatening comments about her, and personally identified her and her school.

      They endangered and ruined her life for no other reason than their baseless hate.

      I wish you could pause for a moment and recognize that sometimes you’re wrong. Sometimes the people on your side do bad things. I’m glad Cline has been formally censured and asked to resign.

      Reply
      • J

        John HedbergFeb 17, 2024 at 5:07 am

        Did they “endanger and ruin her life”, and for “no other reason than baseless hate”? I’m on the side of everyone facing bigotry and harassment, having seen quite a bit myself. Your own hyperbolic language likely inflames pejorative emotions (i.e. “endangers”), and language like it tends to shut down discussions we need to be having as a society, discussions which you probably call “hate speech”, not because anyone is speaking hate, but merely because you hate what they’re saying: there’s a difference~! 🤪😎

        On the other hand, I’ve actually faced real violence on campus, not just the feeling of being disagreed with, and the Campus Equity bigots responded by saying, “I think it’s good when it happens to someone like you; now you know how it feels”. FYI, I’m on the lighter side in my family, but I’m BIPOC and intersectional, and I’ve dealt with harassment since I was a child, but to these Equity cultists, we all look alike in the eyes of their bigotry as they rationalize and embrace real violence against anyone who disagrees with their feelings, and their worst feelings take nothing more than a glance at you before judgment occurs.

        So, again, I’d like to see evidence of anyone actually being threatened with violence, not just harsh language, and I’d like to see some acknowledgement of the actual violence faced regularly by people (like Riley Gaines) who dare to have a public discussion amidst the permanent tantrum pathological narcissists (i.e. “activists”) who talk relentlessly about a compassion they never actually practice, and speak endlessly about marginalized voices even as they try to silence any marginalized folks who trigger them by suggesting they’re long overdue for a diaper change~! 😂😋 Kindly,

        Reply