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Bill To Change Dixie State University Name Advances In Senate

FILE: Dixie State University. (KSL TV)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A substitute bill that creates a process for the Dixie State University Board of Trustees to select and recommend a new name for the university advanced out of a Senate committee Monday.

“After listening and talking with constituents and voicing their concerns, we have reached a consensus,” said floor sponsor Sen. Don L. Ipson, R-St. George. “The bill has received considerable input from DSU students and the St. George community, and as representatives of the people, we listened to the concerns of all Utahns before proceeding with the bill. With the substitution and removing the name Dixie from the bill, it now enables community input, which will preserve the heritage of our great community.”  

Senate officials said HB0278 “establishes a collaborative process for recommending a name that involves university students, faculty and the local community” through a new committee.

That committee would then recommend a name to the DSU Board of Trustees and Utah Board of Higher Education, which must submit any new names to the Legislative Management Committee by Nov. 1.

If the new name does not include the term “Dixie,” the bill requires the DSU Board of Trustees and Utah Board of Higher Education to create a Heritage Committee “to preserve the heritage, culture, and history of the region on the campus of the institution, including the regional significance of the term ‘Dixie.'”

The bill also includes $500,000 for that heritage committee, if created.

The Senate Education Committee voted 6-1 to advance the substitute bill advance Monday afternoon.

“Today’s action is an important step down the path already laid out by university leadership and students,” said bill sponsor Rep. Kelly Miles, R-Ogden. “I am confident that the DSU Board of Trustees and the Utah Board of Higher Education will return later this year with a new name recommendation that enables the university to fulfill its mission as a regional and even national institution.”

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.

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