ST. GEORGE, Utah, Feb. 1, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — The Utah State Legislature has introduced a bill to formally change Dixie State University’s name.
House Bill 278, sponsored by Rep. Kelly Miles, (R-Ogden), would begin the process to change the name of the St. George university.
“This bill requires a process for the Dixie State University Board of Trustees, in consultation with the Utah Board of Higher Education, to select and recommend a new name for the institution to the Legislature,” the bills says.
On Dec. 14, Dixie State University’s board of trustees agreed to recommend removing the name “Dixie” from the university’s name.
A report from The Spectrum newspaper said that during a meeting, board members reviewed the results of a “comprehensive impact study” done by independent research firm Cicero Group.
University President Richard Williams said the decision is endorsed not only by himself and his cabinet but by the Student Association, the University Council, the Faculty Senate and the Staff Association.
Williams read from a statement, and said: “The President’s Cabinet recommends that the Board of Trustees and the Utah State Board of Higher Education work collaboratively with the residents of Southwest Utah, DSU faculty and staff, the Utah State Legislature and the governor’s office to identify a new name for the institution that epitomizes DSU’s mission and values.”
Dixie State University partnered with Cicero Group, an independent research firm headquartered in Salt Lake City, to conduct “comprehensive research that will help the institution and its governing bodies understand the positive and negative impacts of continuing to include ‘Dixie’ in the University’s name,” according to a September press release.
The press release noted that ultimately, the power to rename a state institution of higher education belongs to the Utah State Legislature with input from the Utah System of Higher Education.
“Dixie State University is commissioning this impact study to be attentive to the current dialogue regarding racial symbols and terms, and we are likewise sensitive to the affinity that many have for the Dixie name,” the September news release said. “We value and respect the rich pioneering history reflected in the local use of the term, and we understand the negative connotations associated with the term as well.”
Gephardt Daily will have more on this developing story as information is made available.