Utah Senate passes Dixie State name change bill

Nov 10, 2021, 5:25 PM | Updated: 7:00 pm

new name dixie state utah polytechnic university...

Dixie State University in St. George is pictured on Friday, April 9, 2021. Photo: Jeffrey Allred, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The name of  Dixie State University will become a thing of the past.  Lawmakers on Utah’s Capitol Hill voted to change the name of the school to Utah Tech University after long and emotional discussions.

Is “Dixie” offensive, or has “cancel culture” taken over?  That was one of the main debates on Utah’s Capitol Hill.  First, on the House floor, supporters of HB 2001 say the people most affected by the name Dixie State University are the students, and Rep. Kelly Miles says the overwhelming majority of students want the name changed.

“This name recommendation is based on the interest of the students,” Miles says.

Other supporters, like Rep. Steve Waldrip, say the name is already causing problems for students.  He pointed out how the name “Dixie” is no longer used for tourist promotions because of its connection to the southern states during the Civil War.  He says the name has already caused students to lose job opportunities and admission to graduate schools.

“My question to you, at the end, is how many students are you willing to sacrifice on the altar of the name Dixie?” asks Waldrip.

Representative Jordan Teuscher says whether or not the name “Dixie” is problematic is beside the point.

“The institution has decided that they’re changing their mission and focus from a regional college to a national one,” according to Teuscher.

One representative, Lowry Snow, supported the name change, although he acknowledged losing the current name would upset a lot of people in southern Utah.  He added an amendment that would keep the name “Dixie” in a smaller way.

“[The amendment] requires that the Board of Trustees of this institution to designate main campus as the ‘Dixie Campus’ for a period of not less than 20 years,” Snow says.

That amendment was approved and the bill passed the House by a 56-15 vote.

The Senate approves, but not as strongly

The vote in the Senate was much closer than the House, but the debate was just as emotional.  Critics of the bill have doubts about the name becoming a hindrance to students, adding that the school has a very high employment rate for graduates and that enrollment has been steadily climbing.

Senator Don Ipson spoke out against the change, saying the name has been loved by his constituents for generations.

“The idea of ripping away the name of their school is, indeed, heart-wrenching,” says Ipson.

Senator Evan Vickers also opposed the bill, even though he says he has no feelings about the name, either way.  He says he received many emails from people in Washington County, saying the name change is akin to erasing their heritage.

Vickers says, “I’ve had a lot from the constituents I represent in Washington County.  It’s because of that I really feel like I need to support my constituents in this and stand up and say that I will be voting ‘no.’”

House Bill 2001 passed the Senate 17-12, and will go to the governor’s desk for his signature.


Related Articles

Arguments for and against renaming Dixie State University during special session

Utah Legislature passes Dixie State name change

Utah Polytechnic State University?  Maybe not.  Proposed Dixie State name change in question


We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

All News

Alpine School District split...

Adam Small

Consulting firm recommends Alpine School District split in two

After reviewing the Alpine School District, MTG consulting recommends the district split into two separate districts.

8 minutes ago

FILE - Former film producer Harvey Weinstein appears in court at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Crimina...

MICHAEL SISAK Associated Press

New York appeals court overturns Harvey Weinstein’s 2020 rape conviction from landmark #MeToo trial

Harvey Weinstein's 2020 rape conviction has been overturned citing bias from the judge that presided over that case.

58 minutes ago

FILE - Chicago's iconic Rat Hole along the 1900 block of West Roscoe Street in the Roscoe Village n...


Chicago’s ‘rat hole’ removed after city determines sidewalk with animal impression was damaged

CHICAGO (AP) — The “rat hole” is gone. A Chicago sidewalk landmark some residents affectionately called the “rat hole” was removed Wednesday after city officials determined the section bearing the imprint of an animal was damaged and needed to be replaced, officials said. The imprint has been a quirk of a residential block in Chicago’s […]

1 hour ago

former president trump, immunity...

 MARK SHERMAN Associated Press

No one is above the law. Supreme Court will decide if that includes Trump while he was president

Former President Trump's lawyers argue that former presidents are entitled to absolute immunity for their official acts.

2 hours ago

A composite sketch of a woman who the Duchesne County Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's h...

Cassidy Wixom,

Duchesne County asking public to help identify woman whose remains were found 21 years ago

The Duchesne County Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's help in identifying the remains of a woman.

2 hours ago

Visitors stand at the closed gates leading to the Eiffel Tower, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024 in Paris....

Jeff Caplan

Jeff Caplan’s Minute of News: The Paris Olympics might stink

When it rains in Paris… things take a dark turn.

3 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.


Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

Utah Senate passes Dixie State name change bill