SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – A substitute version of a bill that proposes changing the name of Dixie State University advanced through the Senate Education Committee on Monday afternoon.
The substitute bill made changes to the initially proposed bill and will allow university faculty, students, and members of the community to collaborate in the process of determining a new name for the school.
The bill, HB278, states that if the university Board of Trustees passes the name change, that “$500,000 will be appropriated to the Heritage Committee to preserve the regional heritage, culture, and history on DSU’s campus, should the trustees opt to change the name.”
According to a news release from the Utah Legislature, the timeline of the bill will remain the same, with the Legislature aiming to complete the name change no later than Nov. 1.
According to a study commissioned by Dixie State University, performed by the Cicero Group, “A name change would likely result in decreased alumni donations,” according to Cicero, “whereas keeping the ‘Dixie’ name could mean trouble for grant seeking, corporate donations, and partnerships.” Some key findings include:
- 22% of recent DSU graduates have had a potential employer express concern about seeing the word “Dixie” on their resume.
- 54% of faculty and staff and 36% of current students believe the name will have a negative impact on the institution’s general brand.
- 33% of Southern Utah residents, 41% of Utahns, and 64% of survey participants from DSU recruiting areas associated the term “Dixie” with the South or the Confederacy.
- 45% of current DSU staff said that when they meet other academic professionals, they assume DSU is located in the southern United States.
According to a news release from the Utah Legislature, “The DSU Student Association Executive Council, University Council, President’s Cabinet, Board of Trustees, the Utah Board of Higher Education and Utah System of Higher Education presidents unanimously supported changing the university’s name. “
DSU students who supported the name change bill recently gathered at the Utah State Capitol to call on Senators to hear the bill, after false reports circulated that the bill was dead.
The bill will now advance to the Senate floor for a vote