SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – The debate over H.B. 278, which addresses the question of whether Dixie State University should change its name, has been one of the most contentious and volatile issues during the 2021 legislative session.

The House passed the original version of the bill early in the session, but it stalled in the Senate. Last week, Senate leaders would not even commit to even hearing the bill. But then announced they would take up the controversial measure after making revisions to the bill.

Holly Richardson, Editor at joined ABC4’s Rosie Nguyen on the CW30 to break down H.B. 278‘s journey in this year’s session. She explained why the name change would require a bill to be passed at the legislature, whether the bill’s rocky journey had any political play involved, and the differences between the original and revised bill.

Tim Anderson, a St. George attorney and Chair for the Southern Utah Legal Services Section talked about the opposing arguments to the proposed name change. He explains how the word, “Dixie” means pride, heritage, legacy, and history to the people who oppose the bill, his responses to those who believe the name conjures up images of racism and slavery, and how he feels about the revisions to H.B. 278.

Jyl Hall, Public Relations Director for Dixie State University addressed the supporting arguments to the proposed name change. She talked about data conducted in a study with Cicero Group, the impact it’s had on graduated students looking for jobs and recruitment efforts, and how the administration feels about starting the renaming and community input process all over again.

To watch the full IN FOCUS discussion with de Richardson, Anderson, and Hall, click on the video at the top of the article.

Catch IN FOCUS discussions with ABC4’s Rosie Nguyen weeknights on the CW30 News at 7 p.m.

Rosie Nguyen is an award-winning journalist who joined the ABC4 News team as a reporter in January 2018. In September 2020, she embarked on a new journey as the anchor for the CW30 News at 7 p.m. Although she’s not out in the field anymore, she is continuing her passion for social justice and community issues through the nightly “In Focus” discussions.