To: Sen. McKell, M.,
Subject: Please vote to CHANGE the name Dixie
I am writing to ask you to vote to change the name Dixie. For full disclosure, I am the dean of the College of Education at DSU, but I am writing today for myself. I have been in higher education for almost 30 years. I was a K-12 educator before that. As an educator, it has always been my first guideline for making decisions related to my job to always do what is best for students. As an administrator at Dixie State University, my first thought for every decision is, what will be best for students. After hearing comments from faculty, staff, and students, as well as colleagues around the nation, and studying the results of the CICERO study, I am convinced that the best decision for our current and future students is to change the name.
I have to admit that when I first came to Dixie State in 2005, and I learned about the history of the institution, I was shocked by the adoption of confederacy symbols. I’m sure there was no malice intended at the time, but I was shocked. I was also pleased with efforts to remove those symbols and moving forward with a more positive approach. Changing the name is the next step.
There are many reasons why I think this needs to happen, but all I really needed was one piece of data from the study – 22% of our recent graduates (2010 to present) have had the name brought up in a negative way in their efforts to find employment. That is more than 1 in 5 graduates. While I respect the strong feelings about the word “Dixie” in the community, I can’t accept that we can remove this barrier for our students but won’t because of tradition.
Thank you for your consideration.
Brenda Sabey, Ph.D.