In the last few days there has been a lot of talk about changing the name of our local university. This isn’t the first time it has come up but now there are Facebook groups and petitions and a lot more serious conversations going on about the subject.
Dixie State University has already had five name changes in the last 100 years with three of those name changes in the last 45 years alone. The argument for the most recent name change is that the word “Dixie” should not be associated with the university in anyway. The most recent name suggestion I saw was Saint George State University and I hate it.  It is too long, difficult to say, and I can’t even imagine what the apparel and license plates will look like. The biggest issue I have though is that “Dixie” is not a bad name. A friend told me to Google the word Dixie because it is awful and here is what I found….
**Please note: I used a computer that I have never before looked up the DSU website, Gmail, or anything else associated with it**
The first thing that popped was Dixie paper products. I don’t know about you guys but I don’t think paper products we use for summer BBQs are dangerous or degrading. Next up is our beloved university; still no indication of confederacy. Then the typical Wikipedia article that most people never read. I did read it for the sake of this argument though and it does talk about the origin of the name which apparently started as labeling English speaking southerners (Dixie’s) and then a whole bunch of other stuff still not associated with confederacy. Then one tiny paragraph at the very end defines Dixie as a group of southern confederate states and then lists the states. Utah, I might add, is not part of that grouping.
Five years ago I started attending Dixie State College and decided to join student government. We were the “Team of the Century” and were a big supporter of becoming a university. Since then it has become a university, they offer more degrees, student participation has increased, and Dixie still has the lowest tuition in Utah. Our focus was to redefine not change completely. And so far I would say we were successful.
Let me tell you a little secret. When people think of DSU they think of a party school with drugs and low tuition. Every graduating or transferring student I have talked to has mentioned they chose Dixie because it is a party school and has low tuition. Every parent I have ever talked to has always been afraid of sending their child to DSU for those exact same reasons. So it may be just me but I am pretty sure they don’t care that “Dixie” can sometimes be associated with confederacy. Seems to be a bigger issue there but what do I know.
Dixie does not participate in confederacy in any way. And what happens when you change the name of the University? Are we going to be forced to change Dixie rock? What about Dixie high school? What about all of the local businesses such as Dixie Nutrition? What about the infamous “D” that stands proudly on our hill defining our little town?
From what I understand if “Dixie” is such a terrible word with evil associations then everything else associated with it needs to be changed. Instead of redefining the word and keeping our Dixie spirit we are taking the easy way out and changing the name. If we are going to be making changes it should be to the mascot. A few years ago DSU became the “storm” with a bull as the mascot. If someone could tell me the correlation between the two that would be great because I can’t.
I honestly could rant and rave about my opinions about the subject and the city of St George as a whole for days but I’ll spare you for now. My point is that I care. I am so proud to say that I attend DSU. I proud to say I live in St George. I will argue with people for hours about how great this city is or how much I love DSU. Some people view this change as exciting! But in reality it is unnecessary, exhausting, and costly.
Stop living in the past and start accepting the future. You don’t need to physically change something in order to get a fresh start. If you want to lose weight don’t wait until New Years. If you want to have a better relationship don’t end your current one. If you want to redefine Dixie then actually redefine it.