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Sen. Harry Reid's Name Removed from SUU Center

Asher Swan,
U.S Senator Harry Reid speaks at a convocation at Southern Utah University, September 1, 2011

  The name of U.S. Senator Harry Reid disappeared from a doorway at Southern Utah University last week, thanks in part to objections from community leaders in Cedar City.

Democratic Senator Harry Reid of Nevada attended Southern Utah University as a young man, and he was pleased when SUU decided to name a campus program in his honor.  But no funds have been raised for the Harry Reid Center, so the program was merged with the existing Center for Outdoor Engagement.

That infuriated some members of the community in Cedar City, who dislike Reid’s liberal politics. City council member Paul Cozzens began his own fundraising effort to rename the center.

“We did that in five days," Cozzens told KUER. "We raised 40-thousand dollars in pledges.  At that point, I think it maybe started creating a little bit of a stir, and so the president called me and asked me to back off on the fundraiser, which I did immediately.”

SUU President Scott Wyatt says he decided at that point to separate the two programs, so Senator Reid’s name was taken off the door at the Center for Outdoor Engagement.  But he says the university still intends to honor Reid as a distinguished alumnus.

Wyatt told KUER, “Senator Reid has a family member that’s a good friend of mine, and we’ve been talking back and forth about this.  Frankly, I’ve apologized to them for the frustration they probably feel about the way this news has spread around the country.”

Wyatt says it’s now the university’s responsibility to keep its promise to Senator Reid and raise money for a separate center with his name on it. 

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