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Dixie State University Trustees Unanimously Vote To Recommend A Name Change

A photo of Dixie State University.
Courtesy of Dixie State University
The Board of Trustees at Dixie State University voted Monday to recommend a name change for the school.

The Board of Trustees at the university unanimously voted Monday to recommend changing the name of the school.

This comes after the university conducted a survey to find out how people feel about its name — which has ties to the confederacy. Overall, the survey found it is still popular among locals, but has the potential to hurt the institution’s branding as it continues to grow.

“We have learned that the inclusion of Dixie is increasingly problematic for our students and alumni, hinders our ability to recruit students, faculty and staff, and limits the partnerships we can build,” university President Richard Williams said.

A photo of protestors.
Lexi Peery
People outside St. George City hall protested against the removal of the name “Dixie” over the summer.

Williams said survey results about how faculty and students feel about the name were most concerning to him. It found 27% of students were uncomfortable wearing clothing with the word “Dixie” on it. And almost half of the faculty surveyed thought the name negatively impacted their efforts to get grants, donations and partnerships.

By removing this barrier, we feel our students and alumni will be better equipped to reach their full potential,” Williams said.

Tiffany Wilson is a DSU alumna and member of the board. She said it was a difficult decision to make but she was concerned about the name’s history.

“Even though we tried to cut off our connection to anything Confederate back when we eliminated our Rodney Rebel mascot and the Confederate flag as the official flag of Dixie State, those things haven’t left us,” Wilson said. “We are still identified in large part with that past and that history.

The final decision on a new name is ultimately up to the state Legislature with input from the Utah Board of Higher Education.

Lexi is KUER's Southwest Bureau reporter
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