To: Sen. McKell, M.,
Subject: Vote YES to Change Dixie State University's Name
The discussion around the Dixie name has been intense and extremely difficult. I am someone who was raised in St. George and attended, graduated from, and worked at Dixie State University. It is a school I love dearly and the Dixie area is a place I will forever call my home. While I have deep affirmation for the name Dixie and the area I grew up in, the name of the university needs to change. Although there is much I could say, I will keep my comments brief.
It is clear that the majority of Southern Utah loves the name Dixie and is against altering it, and I see no reason for the region to change its identity. However, because of the University's stature and projection on a national scale, there are obvious issues. The study conducted by Cicero Group has proven that outside of Southern Utah and the state as a whole, the word "Dixie" has other negative meanings. If 1/5 of alumni are having trouble furthering their education or careers outside of Utah because of the NAME of the institution they attended, it would be disrespectful of the school to not address it. For those who argue Dixie has no ties to racism, a dive into the history of DSU will prove that is simply not true.
We know that the area has a rich history and the sacrifices made by the early pioneers will not be forgotten or discredited if the name of the University is changed. Rather, we want to continue to honor them by ever improving the great school they established. If the name is hindering even a small group, it's important to consider the reasoning. With 22% of graduates reporting a problem, it cannot be overlooked.
I believe the university leaders are intelligent, kind people who truly care about the students who attend DSU. They seek a better future in which our beloved university can thrive and it's students excel. I also believe we have great leaders in Utah, so please take this into consideration and vote yes to changing Dixie State University's name. It will be a tough battle, but please do what is best for the students who are dedicated to their education.
I appreciate your time, and please reach out if you have any questions for me.