UPDATE: Dixie State name change passes through Utah Senate

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Those for and against renaming Dixie State University gathered outside Utah’s Capitol as lawmakers met inside for a special session on Tuesday, November 8, 2021. Among the topics for the special session is renaming Dixie State. (ABC4)

UPDATE: WEDNESDAY 11/10/21 5:37 p.m.

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The Utah Senate passed a bill to change the name of Dixie State University to Utah Tech University in a 17-12 vote on Wednesday evening.

Dixie State University issued a statement on Wednesday following the approval:

Dixie State University sincerely thanks the Utah State Legislature, Utah Board of Higher Education, DSU Board of Trustees, the Name Recommendation Committee and the countless individuals who work tirelessly to create the strongest educational environment possible for our students. The legislature’s vote to change the institution’s name to Utah Tech University provides us with a reputable name that highlights who we are as a comprehensive polytechnic university and helps set us up for continued success.

The University is committed to offering students a well-rounded quality education complete with active learning experiences and industry collaborations to successfully meet workforce demands. We will continue to offer and expand our programs in a wide variety of academic disciplines while placing a concentrated focus on the STEM, healthcare and business fields.

We look forward to building a Utah Tech University brand that will strongly represent what it means to be a Trailblazer while continuing to preserve the pioneering heritage of our institution and region. Pending the governor’s signature, the name Utah Tech University will become official on July 1, 2022. We will continue to provide updates and information regarding the name change process at dixie.edu/nameprocess.

Thank you, once again, to our legislative leaders and the numerous individuals across the entire state who participated in the name recommendation process over the last year and a half.

The bill now heads to Gov. Cox’s desk for its final approval.

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ORIGINAL STORY: Utah House approves Dixie State University name change

WEDNESDAY 11/10/21 4:11 p.m.

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4) – The Utah House of Representatives has approved the Dixie State University name change Wednesday afternoon.

In a 56-15 vote, the House voted in approval to replace Dixie State University with Utah Tech.

The name change, however, was approved with an amendment.

The amendment states the university’s main campus will be called the “Dixie Campus” for at least the next twenty years.

After years of controversial debate over the name change, the decision has some Utahns on edge.

On Tuesday, supporters and opponents of the name change gathered at Utah’s Capitol to make their voices heard.

‘Dixie’ is a term that is commonly associated with the Confederacy and slavery and administrators did not want this associated with their school.

The controversial name change proposal had to pass through a handful of groups before it was even able to make it to the state legislature for consideration.

The Dixie State University Name Recommendation Committee met during the middle of June ultimately voting in favor of renaming the school ‘Utah Polytechnic State University,’ or formally known as Utah Tech.

Less than a week after that decision, the backlash began and a petition, started by a Dixie State student, started circulating online amassing 18,000 signatures for an alternative name change.

At the end of June, the Dixie State University Board of Trustees voted in favor of renaming the school Utah Polytechnic State University.

On Oct. 27., the Utah Board of Higher Education voted unanimously to pass along the name Utah Tech University to the Legislature.

The bill will now head to the Utah Senate, where there is some belief that the bill may not pass through.

“We are looking at that bill and I don’t think we have a clear indication either way. So we are going to count the votes when they come in,” said Senate President Stuart Adams. 

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