From: Mike Peterson
To: Sen. McKell, M.,
Subject: A Plea to Change the Name of Dixie State
Date: 2021-01-12T20:34:55Z

Esteemed Senator -- 

I hope you will consider voting in favor of changing the name of Dixie State.

I'm sure you have already heard a lot of valid arguments for and against the name change, but please let me share just one more story. 

Shortly after becoming a professor at Dixie State, I attended an academic conference in Anaheim. As I was walking along the street with a fellow professor from Dixie, proudly wearing my new Dixie State t-shirt, a man walking by said, “Nice shirt, asshole.” I was confused, and my colleague said that’s why he never wears anything with Dixie on it when he travels outside of Utah.

I have since adopted that same practice, and all of these years later, it saddens me when I attend conferences and see other people proudly wearing gear from their college. I am proud of Dixie State and all of the great things we have accomplished this last decade. I’m proud of Utah and our heritage. I am from Utah--born and raised in Ogden--and I am descended from pioneers. Changing the name doesn’t threaten me or my heritage. When I speak with colleagues outside of Utah, especially at academic conferences, I would like to be able to brag about our university without starting in a place of deficit: having to explain why a college west of the Rockies would even have the word Dixie in its name.

Changing our name is the right step in an already chaotic year that has proven how destructive certain symbols can be. The word Dixie has become one of those symbols, and it is beneath us to continue using it in the name of a public university.

Thank you for your consideration. 


Mike Peterson, Ph.D.
Chair and Associate Professor of English
Dixie State University