To: Sen. McKell, M.,
Subject: Please Vote to Change the Name Dixie
I want to tell you the story of a girl who was born and raised in Birdseye, Utah, and has now lived in beautiful southern Utah for 17 years, since she was 7 years old. When she reached high school and the time came to decide what university she wanted to attend, Dixie State College didn’t even make her list. She felt the school was too localized and her dreams reached beyond the little town she was fond of. Long story short and a persuasive scholarship later, she decided to attend Dixie, but only for her generals. After all, she had seen Dixie make such great progress and recently become a university. She felt their progress deserved recognition, so she gave it a shot. Little did she know she would fall in love with the University.
At first, she simply went to school, went to work, and went home. Then she heard about an internship opportunity in the career center. During that time, the University went through an athletic identity rebrand and became the Trailblazers. For the first time, she started to become interested in the school and pride began to build up inside of her for this Trailblazing brand.
Becoming involved created a snowball effect. She couldn’t get enough. Throughout her years at Dixie she was a staff photographer for the Dixie Sun News, Social Media Manager for the Student Association, Fall 2016 Social Media Student of the Semester, 2017 Communication Division Award of Excellence – Social Media winner, the 1st Attendant in the 2018 D-Queen Pageant, Founding President for the DSU Public Relations Student Society of America Chapter, and more.
During her time as the PRSSA President, she had the opportunity to travel to conferences around the country as a representative of Dixie State. Her first stop was Miami, Florida. While she was there, she ran into something she had never encountered before. Everyone was confused when she told them what university she was from. “Dixie State,” they would say. “That’s the name of a university?” “Where in the world is that?” and when she would reply with, “Utah” more questions followed. Then someone told her, “I heard Dixie State has a really racist past. Just Google it.” She didn’t know how to defend what she found. A pit formed in her stomach. The school she had come to know and love so much was overshadowed and misrepresented by a name.
In the years to come, she did her best to explain the history and share the positive experience she had but confusion continued to follow. Eventually, she graduated and began a fulltime position at a local business. Only a few short months later, she had the opportunity to return to Dixie as the Social Media and Digital Marketing Coordinator.
My name is Skye Amanda Clayton and I am the little girl in the story. Dixie State University has become a second home to me. Those who come here are greeted by red rocks and the beloved, traditional “D” on the Black Hill. Although perhaps unidentifiable to a newcomer, the Dixie Spirit can be felt. For me, the Dixie Spirit is a combination of wonderful traditions, a love of learning, and a passion to blaze innovatively – all sprinkled with warm red sand.
Yet, all of this incredible good is overshadowed by a name. Students, students just like me, are coming upon a roadblock. Education should only enable one’s future not hinder it. And yet, there are those who are having these experiences. Many others never consider Dixie because of feeling and confused, alienated or unwelcomed by this name.
Now, the sand doesn’t feel warm anymore, the passion is diminishing and the love of learning and tradition is becoming lost. Our University is more than a name. This roadblock has to be removed.
Please take the time to consider stories like mine. Again, I love Dixie State University. My love doesn’t change if the name does, it will only grow and allow others to fully experience all this University has to offer. Let’s Trailblaze into a brighter future.
Most sincerely and with great love for the University,
Skye Amanda Clayton