Dixie State name change bill to be heard by Senate after student protest

Feb 24, 2021, 6:36 PM
name change bill...
The Dixie State University bus that brought students to protest at the Utah State Capitol. (PHOTO: KSL Newsradio's Paul Nelson)
(PHOTO: KSL Newsradio's Paul Nelson)

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Senate leaders said they will discuss a name change bill that begins the renaming process for Dixie State University (DSU).  The announcement came Wednesday after dozens of students came to the Capitol steps, demanding the bill be heard on the Senate floor.

Dozens of DSU students took the three-hour bus ride from St. George to Salt Lake City to call on the Senate to hear HB 278.  They were protesting reports that the bill was stalled in the Senate after it passed through the House.

RELATED:  Poll: Most Utahns wouldn’t change name of Dixie State University

Student-athlete Deven Osborne was one of the protesters.  He said the school has tried to recruit players to their football team, even offering scholarships.  However, the word “Dixie” convinced those athletes to look elsewhere.

“We have had a lot of kids turn down scholarships based off of the name. There were a lot of talented kids we could have had represent our school and become phenomenal athletes and students, as well,” Osborne said.

(DSU students calling for HB 278 to be discussed in the Senate. Credit: Paul Nelson)

He and other protesters carried signs and chanted phrases like “love the school, not the name,” and “the racist name has got to go.”  Osborne says other students have already been turned away from graduate schools because of the word “Dixie” on their resume.

“We’re tired of being in interviews and hearing, ‘Why is your school named Dixie?’ when we should be talking about our qualifications,” he said.

Other students said the word “Dixie” doesn’t have the same racist connotations in southern Utah as it does in other parts of the country, which could be why so many Utahns don’t see the word as racist. 

However, international student Guillem Parra grew up in Barcelona, Spain, and he said the word is becoming widely recognized all over the world as a sign of support for the southern states during the American Civil War.

“You learn about the Civil War.  You learn about the trials and tribulations that this country has to go through.  You learn about slavery and you learn about ‘Dixie” and the meaning that term has outside of Utah,” Parra said.

(Students and their signs at the Utah State Capitol. Credit: Paul Nelson)

At the same time, there were a pair of counter-protesters at the State Capitol who said the name ought to be protected, and that changing it would be akin to erasing history.

“It doesn’t have anything to do with the South,” one woman said.  “I am proud of my heritage and my ancestors,” said another.

Senate leaders had high praise for the students and their behavior while they protested outside of the Capitol building.  President Stuart Adams said they will discuss a modified version of the bill that requires community input before the name change takes place.

Today’s Top Stories


At Bingham High School, three seniors made a Cathedral Gingerbread House for extra credit which is ...
Waverly Golden

Bingham High students build intricate gingerbread cathedral

At Bingham High School, three seniors made a Cathedral Gingerbread House for extra credit which is now on display at the high school.
21 hours ago
Native tribes...
Elizabeth Weiler

Native tribes of Utah are given their chance to offer historical perspectives on museum artifacts

SALT LAKE CITY — Natural History Museum of Utah (NHMU) Anthropologists are using a grant to insure a lifelong understanding of Native tribes and Indigenous culture, long after their generations have passed.  Utah is home to several Native tribes who are now having a chance to preserve their culture.  National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH) […]
3 days ago
Officials at Weber State University are considering a change to the student health services current...
Alexandrea Bonilla

Weber State University considers outsourcing student health care

Right now, the health center at Weber State provides low-cost care to students and does not require any form of insurance.
9 days ago
The Biden administration is again extending the pause on federal student loan payments....
Arlette Saenz and Katie Lobosco, CNN

Biden extends student loan repayment freeze as program remains in court

The latest extension comes as the Biden administration's student loan forgiveness program remains tied up in the courts.
9 days ago
After six years leading USU, and an overall 32 year career with the school, President Noelle E. Coc...
Simone Seikaly

USU President Noelle E. Cockett will step down

USU President Noelle E. Cockett has been part of the college's community for 32 years.
9 days ago
Mark Jackson

BYU wellness students return from Blue zone with healthy lifestyle tips

Some BYU students are learning how to live healthy and happier lives from a trip to Ikaria, Greece.
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
Dixie State name change bill to be heard by Senate after student protest