SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – For months, conversations have been ongoing over renaming, or not renaming, St. George’s Dixie State University. Now, with a formal decision by lawmakers within reach, supporters and opponents of the new name have gathered outside Utah’s Capitol to make their voices heard.

Inside the Capitol, Utah’s Legislature is meeting for a special session called by Governor Spencer Cox. Among the topics, they’ll discuss is a new name for Dixie State.

As part of the renaming process, the Utah Board of Higher Education held a vote on the new name in late October. The board unanimously voted to pass along the name ‘Utah Tech University’ to the state legislature. State law does not give the Board of Higher Education the power to select Dixie State’s new name. Instead, it directs the Board to “vote on whether to approve and recommend the name [submitted by the university’s Board of Trustees] to the Legislature.” 

State lawmakers are expected to make a decision on Utah Tech University during the special session.

Among those hopeful for approval of the new name are the dozens of students and staff who traveled from St. George to Salt Lake City for the first day of the special session. Pictured below, the group can be seen holding signs reading “the future of Trailblazers is #UtahTech,” “our voices matter,” and “let’s look to the future.”

Meanwhile, others donning Dixie State apparel are gathered at the Capitol in the hopes that lawmakers won’t change the school’s name. Many, seen below, are wearing “Keep Dixie in Utah’s Dixie” shirts with “Dixie” flags.

This all comes after House Bill 278, proposed a year ago, required Dixie State leaders to put together a name recommendation committee, conduct several focus groups and interviews, to ultimately remove ‘Dixie’ from the name. Two favorite themes after feedback from thousands of people, is adding ‘Utah’ along with the word ‘technology’ into the name.

Some students and locals previously reported to ABC4 their confusion with adding tech into the new name, but university officials believe it will be beneficial.

Once a name has been selected, the next steps are rebranding and a $500,000 fund supported by the legislature, to keep Southern Utah’s heritage visible on campus.