To: Sen. McKell, M.,
Subject: Support name change of Dixie State University
I am writing this email to ask one more time for your support in changing the name of Dixie State University. A name that has connotations of racism once you are outside of our little community has no place in an institution that is growing every year. Even when the meaning of the word for the local community does not have a racist meaning, it does once you go outside. If you think about the origin of the Swastika, you would see how a symbol with a positive meaning like this one, was ruined when it was taken by the Nazis. We are facing the same situation with the name Dixie, and that is the problem; DSU is no longer a local community college, or a local university. It is a state university, and as such, not only represents the community, but the state of Utah. As representatives in the state, I am asking you to consider what we have known anecdotally for years, this time supported by hard data.
The latest impact study conducted by Cicero Group provided the most comprehensive and enlightening insight, including these data points that demonstrate both the great support for and barriers to the name:
- 25% of Southwestern Utah, 44% of Greater Utah, and 56% of our out-of-state recruiting areas believe the name will have a negative impact on the institution’s general brand
- 54% of faculty and staff and 36% of current students believe the name will have a negative impact on the institution’s general brand
- 62% of Southwestern Utah and 46% of Greater Utah believe there will be greater brand appeal if the name remains
- 22% of recent graduates looking for jobs outside of Utah have had an employer express concern that Dixie is on their résumé
- 42% of respondents from our recruiting region and 22% of respondents from Utah say the name makes them less likely to attend DSU
- 52% of recent alumni who live outside of the state feel the name has a negative impact on the brand
- 17% of our community members, 38% of Utahns, and 52% of people outside of the state feel uncomfortable wearing our apparel outside of Utah; 47% of recent alumni who live outside of the state feel uncomfortable wearing their alma mater’s brand
As an open, inclusive, comprehensive polytechnic university, the institution is committed to serving its students to the full extent of their education, and keeping Dixie in the name of the institution will hold them back. I have learned about the history of Dixie, and its spirit. I am not asking you to cancel culture or cancel the past. What I am asking you to do is to look into the future, honoring our past, but not letting it limit how high we can fly.
Thanks for your time,