Dixie State College in St. George, Utah, is in the midst of transitioning to university status. And since the name will be changed to reflect its new status as a university, some members of the campus community have sought to remove the word “Dixie” from the name.
Dixie State 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 recently was removed from the campus. Black students make up about 2 percent of the undergraduate student body.
An advertising agency was contracted to conduct research and suggest new names for the institution. The agency surveyed 6,000 students, faculty, staff, alumni, and members of the surrounding community. The results showed that 84 percent of the respondents wanted to keep the word “Dixie” in the school’s name.
The advertising agency suggested four possible names for the institution when it makes the jump to university status: Dixie State University, St. George University or the University of St. George, Utah Dixie State University, or Utah Dixie University.
In a JBHE poll conducted last month, 37 percent of respondents said that the word “Dixie” should be removed from the institution’s name. Twenty-three percent of respondents thought that Dixie should remain in the school’s name and 40 percent said it didn’t matter one way or another.
The school’s board of trustees is expected to vote on the name change on January 18.
Update: On January 18, the board of trustees adopted the new name of Dixie State University.