To: Sen. McKell, M.,
Subject: Please vote to Change the name "Dixie"
I am a proud and grateful member of DSU's alumni. I mention that I am proud and thankful because I genuinely am proud of the hands on education I received from while working on my Bachelors degree. I am grateful because DSU afforded me many opportunities, including employment after graduating.
While attending DSU I was Student Body Vice President of Public Relations, I started the #thedixielife and #igotodixie hashtags, I helped bring Macklemore and MTVu to the university, I took the DSUSA social media accounts from near 0 to be the largest student government accounts in the state, and was nominated for Female Student of the year. That was all my Junior year of college. During that year ('12-'13) we were moving from Dixie State College to Dixie State University. Myself and our executive council all fought hard for "Dixie" to be dropped from the name then. It was an uphill battle. We were emotionally invested because we loved the school we were attending but we also loved the idea of a school that was more inclusive and open to students we loved and were representing. The new name being announced as Dixie State University was the first (an only) time I cried while sitting in a meeting with the Trustees.
That being said, I knew we had lost that fight and there was no room to dwell on it. It did not stop me from participating and loving the institution. My senior year I began working with the ambassadors. This led me to full time employment as first, the ambassador advisor, and then a recruiter for DSU in Southern CA. That job was a blessing in my personal life and I owe that to President Williams, I respect him greatly and all he did for me.
I say all of that to preface how much the "Dixie Spirit" lives in me. I love this school. A great deal of who I am is owed to the institution.
I would love nothing more than to see the "Dixie" dropped from the school name. Not out of spite or hatred, but because of my love for this school. I want to see all of DSU's potential met and it simply is not likely to happen with all of the negativity attached to the name. I know that the word is not racist in itself, but it is tied to minstrel shows. Even more problematic is the way that previous alumni blatantly turned to the racist connotations of the names and glorified it.
As a former out of state recruiter I can personally attest to how hard it was to go into schools with large populations of Black and Latinx students and be asked questions about the name, why it is "Dixie" if we are not from the south, and if they will be treated well. That was a problem 5 years ago, I cannot even imagine now.
I currently am preparing to apply for my Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy and do not plan on putting "Dixie" but rather will just be putting "DSU" on my applications.
Back in February I took off my "Dixie State University" alumni licence plate cover and switched my DSU plate to a Zion license plate.
I have many DSU shirts that I no longer want to wear or even want to put into a blanket.
The name feels dirty. It felt dirty 7 years ago but people had the excuse of being less informed on the problematic history. It feels even more problematic now because people know the history and how wrong it is.
I would love to see the name be changed. I would love to see forward progress. I also would love to get in line for a new diploma I actually want to hang (if possible)
Thank you for your time and for reading all of this. I am more than happy to share further thoughts and experiences if needed!