Should Dixie State College Change Its Name?

Dixie State College in St. George, Utah, was founded in an area settled by Mormons from the South. The college used to have a Rebel as its mascot. A statue of Confederate soldiers and a Confederate battle flag was removed from the campus earlier this month. The administration stated that they removed the statue to protect it from possible vandalism.

The college is in the midst of transitioning to university status. And since the name will be changed to reflect its new status as a university, critics are lobbying to remove the word “Dixie” from the name. These critics claim that the name may be perceived as offensive by some prospective students. Names that have been suggested include Zion University, St. George University, Red Rock University, and Utah Southwestern University.

Black students make up about 2 percent of the undergraduate student body.

Readers are invited to comment on whether the college should change its name either in the comment section or by responding to this week’s reader poll.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. What is missing from this article is the fact that some of those early Mormon Pioneers were former slave owners who spoke proudly of harming slaves. The school adopted Rodney Rebel, a Confederate soldier as its mascot in the 1950s and then wholely took on the Confederate spirit thereafter, despite the progress of the Civil Rights movement in the rest of the US. In addition, the school yearbook, The Confederate, has images of students in blackface through 1993, proud displays of the confederate flag into the 1990s, and slave auctions into the 1990s. In addition, students performed in blackface as recently as September, 2012! The images can be found at Southern Utah Anti-Discrimination Coalition on Facebook. The campus and community is fairly hostile to students of color with anyone not born and raised in the area called “outsiders” and told to leave. All of the news stories can be found on the Facebook page.

    Interested people can sign a petition to encourage the college to change the name at “Dixie State College: Choose an Appropriate Name for the University” at Change.org

  2. Frankly, it shouldn’t matter. But given the reality of connotation vs denotation, the word ‘dixie’ conjures up images of the ‘rebel South, hate-mongers, backwardness, Confederacy-most everything negative. Now that I think of it. I’ve used ‘Dixie Cups” (disposable items.

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