LOCAL NEWS

Dixie State Students Protest In SLC After Senate Delays Name Change Bill

Feb 24, 2021, 5:43 AM | Updated: 1:56 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The question about whether to change the name of Dixie State University has been a high-profile topic during Utah’s legislative session.

HB278 set up a process to change the name of the university after the institution’s board of trustees voted to drop “Dixie” from the title. The bill passed the House, but Republicans in the Senate have delayed hearings.

After the bill stalled in the Senate, the university’s student association announced it would be protesting on Capitol Hill.

“The senate refusing to hear the bill is them saying that our future as students doesn’t matter to them and that we are expendable,” according to an invitation sent by DSU Student Body President Penny Mills. “So, to show them we are not ok with that we are bringing the ‘A TEAM’ to their turf.”

The students gathered on the steps of the Capitol on Wednesday, while representatives from the DSUSA met with senators inside.

Utah Senate President Stuart Adams tweeted that he appreciated the students’ participation in the legislative process.

“Without public input, we can’t create sound policy,” he wrote. “I believe we will find a solution.”

With the racist connotations of the word “Dixie,” some alumni have complained that the name of the university has been a hindrance in their efforts to find jobs. A survey also showed that the name could affect recruitment efforts for students and faculty out of state.

“We love Dixie,” said Abigail Scherzinger, DSU Student Association chief of staff. “We don’t want to change the name; we have to change the name.”

She said the word “Dixie” means the culture of the outdoors and the pioneering spirit for those who live inside Utah. But for those not from the area, it means something else entirely.

According to research from the Cicero Group, 22% of DSU graduates who sought work outside of Utah had potential employers express concern over the name of the university on their resume. The research also found that 42% of respondents from DSU’s recruiting region and 27% of alumni said the word “Dixie” had a negative impact on their willingness to attend the university or encourage a student to attend.

Data also shows “Dixie” means “the Confederacy” to 33% of southern Utah residents, 41% of Utahns overall, and 64% from the university’s recruiting region.

Speaker of the House Brad Wilson tweeted that the name may be beloved by many in the state, “but negative perceptions present challenges to both students and employers.”

“Today, these challenges were confirmed by business leaders from SkyWest and Vasion, two Washington County companies that employe hundreds of Utahns,” according to Wilson’s thread. “These companies shared first-hand experiences from their businesses and described the negative effects the term ‘Dixie’ has had on their employees, recruitment, and the growth potential of Southern Utah’s economy.”

He wrote that “now is the right time to make this change,” and that waiting longer “would do a great disservice to students and employers and unnecessarily prolong the divisive debate within our communities.”

Gov. Spencer Cox said he would sign the bill to change the university’s name, saying “Dixie” will ultimately be removed from the school’s title whether it happens now or happens later.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Salt Lake city Fire at the vacant home. (KSL-TV)...
Michael Houck

Firefighters extinguish fire at vacant Salt Lake City house

First responders took down a fire at a vacant and boarded-up house Sunday evening. 
1 day ago
Trent Anderson and his 27-year-old horse, Duncan during the parade before the car hit them....
Shelby Lofton

EXCLUSIVE: Car crashes through barricades, hits horse and rider during Christmas parade

A man and his horse are recovering after being hit by an alleged DUI driver during a Spanish Fork Christmas Parade Saturday night.
1 day ago
A trailer rollover blocks two left lanes of I-15. (Utah Department of Transportation)...
Michael Houck

Trailer rollover blocks portion of I-15, suspect in police custody

A person is in custody after attempting to flee the scene of a car crash involving a trailer Saturday afternoon, police say.
1 day ago
Massive blue ice sculptures with a starry sky....
Brooke Williams

Ice castles are constructed by hand one icicle at a time

Cold temperatures means construction on the Ice Castles at Soldier Hollow Nordic Center has officially begun, and it's coming together one icicle at a time.
1 day ago
Customers looking around for trees to purchase. (KSL-TV)...
Erin Cox

Utah farmers say real Christmas trees prices continue to rise

Utahns looking for a real Christmas tree may notice a few extra dollars to the price tag compared to past years.
2 days ago
West Valley City police at the scene of the crash on  3100 S 3200 W. (KSL-TV0...
Michael Houck

Three car crash closes road in West Valley City

A person was sent to the hospital in serious condition after a three-car crash on Saturday, according to West Valley Police.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Dixie State Students Protest In SLC After Senate Delays Name Change Bill