My take on upright rows.
I don't do them with a narrow grip and pull high. I use them as a medial delt move, like a lateral raise.
I take a wider than shoulder width grip, about the rings on an oly bar, and pull only until my upper arms are parallel to the ground. At this postiton, my arms should be bent at roughly 90 degrees. This does hit the traps some, but it is more of a delt move.
There is some controversy about pulling high with the row, as it may impinge the RC area, and cause some truama to the area, that should be avoided.
I don't find that you need to use a lot of weight with this move if you pair it up with some pressing, and use it as a finishing move. Whether or not to include a shrug movement is up to you.
The only back muscle that you could consider that is getting any work would be the trapezious. Most would call it your neck, but it is a part of your back, in a technical sense. No it's not part of the lats, and if that is what he is saying is being affected, then he is an idiot.
The delts are one of the most complex joints we use. Pulling at various angles that involve them will bring in entirely different sets of muscles through the pull. Your entire arm is also affected. Thats a different discussion.