To: Sen. McKell, M.,
Subject: Please change the name of Dixie State University
This is my own personal statement on this issue. My father and mother were born in Southern Utah. The Esplin side have been politicians and one was mayor of Saint George, another president of the Saint George Temple, and major land owners. The Covingtons were other early settlers that lived in a mud dugout on the Santa Clara River. Robert Covington was a slave owner who freed his slaves when he was baptized because he recognized it was wrong. He is held as an example of how someone can change their life, and he is one of my great grandfathers. There is a statue of him here.
Changing the name of the university does not take away from any of that pioneer heritage. Their lives will have built this place, regardless of what the university is titled.
Vendors have started refusing to carry our t-shirts and memorabilia with “Dixie” on it. Students and more frequently minority students have expressed concern with the name as being racist, particularly because the confederate flag was flown in college parades, along with other unfortunate displays of slavery in the past. Some students report concern about getting a job afterwards if they choose to work out-of-state if the name “Dixie” is on their diploma. The current name will hurt some of our students. So my request is that you please approve a name change. If we call it something like Saint George University or Utah Technical University, etc., it will be fine and eliminate the negative impact on students. The sooner this happens the better.
Sincerely, Jeff Hoyt