Petition nears 16K signatures, calls for alternate new name for Dixie State University

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ST. GEORGE, Utah (ABC4) – A new name recommendation has been selected for Dixie State University, but some people are unhappy with it.

As part of the name-changing process, the Dixie State University Name Recommendation Committee voted in favor of renaming the school ‘Utah Polytechnic State University,’ which would be informally known as Utah Tech.

Concerns about the use of the prefix ‘poly’ were discussed, with fears that it would impose a negative connotation in relation to Utah’s history of polygamy.

“The university is working very hard to become the nation’s first and only open, inclusive, comprehensive, polytechnic university, which will offer students from Southern Utah and beyond unique active learning opportunities to prepare for the in-demand careers of their dreams,” Julie Beck, DSU Board of Trustee member and chair of the Name Recommendation Committee, said in early June after focus groups met to discuss themes for the new name. “An institutional name that will not only highlight this academic mission but also distinguish the university on a statewide level will better support the aspirations of our students, alumni, faculty, and staff.” 

A petition is now circling online to offer an alternative name change for Dixie State. As of Tuesday morning, over 15,900 people have signed the petition.

Jordan Kirby, a student at Dixie State, says, “I was extremely disappointed in the name they chose and was embarrassed that it could be the future name of a school I attend. I kept saying someone needs to do something about this and after seeing that other students were responding the same way, I started the petition.”

He goes on to say that the survey students and community members took “gave great options like Red Rock University, Saint George University, and Deseret State University.”

“I love the school I go to and in the beginning, I was opposed to a name change from Dixie State University,” Kirby tells ABC4. “If it must change, the community, alumni, and students deserve something better than Utah Polytechnic State University.”

Dixie State University shared the following statement about the petition with ABC4, saying:

“The institutional name Utah Polytechnic State University is a recommendation that is moving through the approval process. The University appreciates the community’s feedback, and it is being heard and seen by the DSU Board of Trustees, who are the first body to vote on the recommendation. As part of the process, the Trustees will have the opportunity to modify the original recommendation if necessary. Once a name is approved by the Trustees, it will go onto the Utah Board of Higher Education and the Utah State Legislature, where it will be further vetted. Through this multi-tiered comprehensive process, we are confident the right name will be selected for the University.”

Following the name-changing process, ‘Utah Polytechnic State University’ will go up for a vote by the Board of Trustees. From there, the Utah Legislature will make the final vote.

If either the Board or the Legislatures disagree with the name, the committee will need to come up with a new name.

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