EDUCATION

Arguments for and against renaming Dixie State University during special session

Nov 9, 2021, 8:50 PM
(The DSU "Road Scholar" bus parked at the Capitol for the special session.  Photo: Paul Nelson, Nov...
(The DSU "Road Scholar" bus parked at the Capitol for the special session. Photo: Paul Nelson, November 9, 2021)
(The DSU "Road Scholar" bus parked at the Capitol for the special session. Photo: Paul Nelson, November 9, 2021)

SALT LAKE CITY – Some intense emotions and heated discussion happened Tuesday on Utah’s Capitol Hill as people on both sides debated renaming Dixie State University.  Supporters of the name change say it will help graduates looking for work, while critics says it’s fixing a problem that doesn’t exist.

Many officials and students with Dixie State University say the name is becoming a problem for them once they graduate.  Some students say they know the term “Dixie” doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing as in other states, but the connection the word has with being sympathetic to the southern states during the Civil War is prominent outside of Utah.  One DSU athletics official told the Interim Education Committee that students are declining scholarships because of that word.

“There are student-athletes that have said no to us and don’t want to be recruited and don’t want to come here because of the name,” he said.

Renaming Dixie State University

The bill allowing the school to choose a new name was signed earlier this year, and DSU Name Recommendation Committee Chair Julie Beck says the instructions set out by the legislature were followed to the letter.  She also said the new name, Utah Tech University, got unanimous support from student groups, faculty, the Board of Trustees and the Utah System of Higher Education.

Beck said, “I have overseen many complex and important projects.  However, there is nothing I have participated in during my life that I feel better about than the process that was undertaken to fulfill House Bill 278.”

Danny Ipson, DSU Board of Trustees member, became emotional while speaking about his alma mater.  He said he understood the deep sense of identity that comes with the name “Dixie,” but he also believes changing it will make life easier for graduates.

“By supporting an institutional name change, as mentioned before, it should not, in any way, be perceived as changing history or wiping away the rich heritage that we enjoy in our community,” Ipson said.

Heated words on both sides

During the public comment period, sharp words were traded between both sides.  One supporter of the name Utah Tech University accused people opposing the change of being “selfish” and “conceited.”  Opponents of the change said comments like that were “immature.”

Some St. George residents told the committee they had no business deciding what the school’s name should be.

One woman said, “You people in this room have no skin in the game.”

Others question the claims that employers are refusing to hire DSU graduates because of its name, adding that they’ve been able to get jobs all over the country without anyone raising any concerns.  Some residents say removing the name “Dixie” will cause bad blood between the university and southern Utah residents.

“If you change the name of this school, you are doing damage to the community that can never be resolved,” one woman said.

That sentiment was echoed by Washington County Commissioner Victor Iverson.

“It will cause a permanent rift and damage with the relationship between the university and the community that supported it,” according to Iverson.

House Bill 2001 was not brought up on the House floor during the first day of this special session.  Both the House and the Senate are expected to vote on the bill Wednesday.

Read more:

Today’s Top Stories

Education

kindergarten gap year...
Tom Haraldsen

Checking in on the status of full-day kindergarten in Utah

Policy analyst with Voices for Utah Children reveals whether full-day kindergarten could be in the cards for next year.
1 day ago
video game...
Elizabeth Weiler

BYU students win international award for video game

SALT LAKE CITY — Students apart of the animation program at BYU received international recognition from the Rookie Awards for developing and producing a video game. Additionally, the “Highly Commended” also helped BYU earn the global ranking of fifth top video game design school.  The interactive computer game in question is titled Liminus: The Silent Guard, it […]
4 days ago
Weber State University will offer TheDream.US scholarships to Utah immigrant youth who want to atte...
Simone Seikaly

Utah immigrant youth to benefit from new Weber State scholarship

The scholarships for Utah immigrant youth are offered through TheDream.US, which helps DREAMers get into college.
5 days ago
USU Eastern Student Wins Bronze Medal in Welding Competition...
Aubri Wuthrich

USU Eastern student takes 3rd in global welding competition

The USU Eastern welding student scored seven points behind the gold medal winner and took the Best of Nation Award.
5 days ago
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.
6 days 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) […]
8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

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...
Macey's

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...
Sorenson

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.
Arguments for and against renaming Dixie State University during special session