Applause and song resound, Dixie name change survey results; STGnews Videocast and Photo Gallery

Exhibit Board, University Naming Community Meeting, Dixie State College of Utah, St. George, Utah, Jan. 9, 2013 | Photo by Chris Caldwell, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – “Dixie State University” was announced as the top recommendation by Sorenson Advertising of the new name for Dixie State College as it nears university status.

Members of the community, DCS students and alumni and public officials gathered at the Cox Auditorium for the unveiling of Sorenson’s findings. Sorenson has conducted three months of research to form its primary name recommendations for the college’s board of trustees.

“There’s clearly a lot of passion around this issue,” said Erik Sorenson, president of Sorenson Advertising.  He said the response from the stakeholders of the college – namely the entire community and anyone with connection to Dixie State somehow – has been tremendous.

“There was no issue with lack of support,” he said.

Dixie State charged Sorenson Advertising with making sure every voice was heard concerning the new name, Sorenson said. To that end, the online survey, interviews and focus groups were held in order to “go in depth on the true issues” that arose concerning the name-change.

Story continues below

EXCERPTS University Naming Community Meeting, Dixie State College of Utah, St. George, Utah, Jan. 9, 2013 | Videocast by Sarafina Amodt, St. George News

And while the name change itself proved to be wrought with controversy, he said no one objected to the college becoming a university.

“Everyone will benefit from this institution becoming a university,” Sorenson said, and added that many people were excited about getting university-level courses and having the term “university” on their diplomas.

As the findings of the three months’ study were summarized, Sorenson said 82.9 percent of the respondents in the study support keeping “Dixie” in the new name. The statistic was met with applause.

While the majority of the stakeholders support the name, Sorenson said the challenge was helping others understand what Dixie meant to the community. Respondents who supported the name said it meant things like “community,” “unity,” “self-reliance,” and “heritage.”

According to the study, what Dixie did not mean – to the community at least – is the negative connotations associated with racism and the Antebellum South.

“It’s locally understood what Dixie means,” Sorenson said.

Speaking to stakeholder support of the name, he added, “Dixie is a key part of the name that could and should be maintained … Dixie is critical.”

The top name recommendations by Sorenson Advertising were then released:

  • Dixie State University
  • University of St. George
  • Utah Dixie University
  • Utah Dixie State University

Dixie State University received an estimated 2,600 votes. The University of St. George and Utah Dixie University received around 400 votes.

“There’s a clear gap,” Sorenson said.

“Dixie State University was by far the choice made by all of you,” he said. Once again the auditorium broke into cheers and applause.

At the conclusion of the meeting, City of St. George Mayor Dan McArthur and others in attendance once again sang “Are You from Dixie?” as they left the auditorium.

However, not everyone in attendance was happy about the Dixie name likely being retained.

“The battle’s not over,” said Manny Aguiler, who described himself as a Latino activist. He said people in the community may not think there is racism in the Dixie name or even the region he called “Wonder Bread County” because those individuals are a part of the white majority.

“I’ve seen racism here,” Aguiler said.

Roi Wilkins, a member of the Washington County Minority Coalition, said, “This place will never be able to grow culturally or diversely” the way people hang on to the Dixie name.

Sorenson Advertising’s name recommendations now go to the DSC Board of Trustees for a vote on Jan. 18, from which the selection will to the Utah State Board of Regents for aproval at a meeting on the school campus Jan. 25, and it is anticipated that the Regents will also vote to formally approve university status for DSC at that time.

Sorenson added people who wished to comment on the name recommendations may do so at http://dixie.edu/namechange/.

St. George News Photo Gallery of University Naming Community Meeting

Note: Click on photo to enlarge, then use left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.

 

Exhibit Board, University Naming Community Meeting, Dixie State College of Utah, St. George, Utah, Jan. 9, 2013 | Photo by Chris Caldwell, St. George News
L to R: Sorenson Advertising President Erik Sorenson and Dixie State College Public Relations Director Steve Johnson, University Naming Community Meeting, Dixie State College of Utah, St. George, Utah, Jan. 9, 2013 | Photo by Chris Caldwell, St. George News
Sorenson Advertising President Erik Sorenson, University Naming Community Meeting, Dixie State College of Utah, St. George, Utah, Jan. 9, 2013 | Photo by Chris Caldwell, St. George News
Lincoln Hubbard of Sorenson Advertising discussed the methodology of the study conducted; University Naming Community Meeting, Dixie State College of Utah, St. George, Utah, Jan. 9, 2013 | Photo by Chris Caldwell, St. George News
Sorenson Advertising President Erik Sorenson, University Naming Community Meeting, Dixie State College of Utah, St. George, Utah, Jan. 9, 2013 | Photo by Chris Caldwell, St. George News
Name Recommendations Exhibit, University Naming Community Meeting, Dixie State College of Utah, St. George, Utah, Jan. 9, 2013 | Photo by Chris Caldwell, St. George News

 

Related posts

Email: samodt@stgnews.com /  mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews / @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!

14 Comments

  • zacii January 10, 2013 at 5:22 am

    Aguiler proves himself a racist by his Wonder bread county remark

    • D. Rex January 10, 2013 at 10:22 am

      His comments aren’t nearly as offensive to the comments I’ve heard about blacks by locals born & raised here. His comments aren’t as offensive as the slave captures/auctions & black faced student activities embraced by Dixie College or those comment about blacks who might attempt to disfigure or vandalize the statue should be put them in jail where they belong.

      Some person with an ever expanding midsection said, “The ‘Dixie Spirit’ is one of helping. It’s one of inviting, it’s welcoming, it’s friendly — it always has been.” contradicted himself with “I’m tired of people coming from outside the area and bringing their prejudice and hates and dislikes and trying to throw it on us,” To add further proof to dispel the claim of “Dixie Spirit being welcoming & friendly” was the heckling, shouting at and disruptive nature of Dixie-ites when students expressed how the word is hurtful to them and what it means to their history. Taken from that story, “In a very bitter irony, the people who were saying this isn’t a racist place…were extremely disrespectful to minorities, students and anyone who had a different opinion,” Reber said.

  • Dsull January 10, 2013 at 6:52 am

    ““The battle’s not over,” said Manny Aguiler, who described himself as a Latino activist. He said people in the community may not think there is racism in the Dixie name or even the region he called “Wonder Bread County” because those individuals are a part of the white majority.”
    .
    So wait, it’s bad to use Dixie, but you can say “Wonder Bread Country”. Why is it always ok for so called “Racial activists” to use derogatory terms. The most racist people I have met have been these people. I’m sure if I used a racist tinged slur to point out a region of Latinos to him, he’d come unglued….
    .
    Sadly though I would rather not have Dixie used in the University name, I feel that it’ll be there. No matter what spin is used by locals, there will never be a good view of Dixie outside of Southern Utah.

    • Bob Derpaderskie January 10, 2013 at 5:26 pm

      If you’re a marketer, you have to look like a scumbag, because, well, you are.

  • bear January 10, 2013 at 7:02 am

    I’ve seen racism, and then makes a racist remark?….I’m offended

  • Snowfield January 10, 2013 at 8:38 am

    The survey had pre selected answers, almost all with Dixie int he name. Of the three that didn’t one shared initials with SUU. You had to rank the the choices to participate, so you couldn’t not select Dixie names if you wanted to complete the survey.

    • D. Rex January 10, 2013 at 10:24 am

      Not to mention some ridiculous choices. C’mon… Zion University? Red Rock University? Get real.

      • Bob Derpaderskie January 10, 2013 at 5:23 pm

        Kolob University would be grand!

  • Ron January 10, 2013 at 8:46 am

    Racism aside, I think it’s a really silly name and a bad choice for a school that wants to achieve national recognition. But then, maybe it will make it more of a challenge, which could be a good thing. Anyway, the community has spoken.

    • D. Rex January 10, 2013 at 12:31 pm

      The name “Dixie” seems to be a higher priority than improving the graduation rate, 31%, which is terrible compared to other comparable sized colleges.

      A poor graduation rate definitely will draw the attention of students pursuing a higher education. Students from the “outside”, too, should be aware that their opinions and ideas don’t matter here and aren’t welcome.

      • psy grad January 10, 2013 at 1:42 pm

        Student opinion has saddly never mattered at Dixie. It didn’t matter five years ago when I took many first class there and out didn’t matter last year when I graduated. It’s a dad but true fact. No matter what you think out the Dixie name out still doesn’t matter. Neither “side” wins.

  • MoreInclusionPlease January 10, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    “Everyone will benefit from this institution becoming a university,” Sorenson said, and added that many people were excited about getting university-level courses and having the term “university” on their diplomas.

    Right, because “Treat the Darker-Skinned as Second-Class Citizens State University” looks so much better than “Treat the Darker-Skinned as Second-Class Citizens State College.”

    As state senator Steve Urquhart has said, the name will be Dixie State University. So the Good Ol’ Boys can display their political swagger for now.

    But that name will be revisited; it is not sustainable for a global audience. And all Utah taxpayers underwriting this institution of higher learning have a right to weigh in.

    Those who believe that Washington County can prosper economically long-term as a white enclave are self-delusional.

  • Bob Derpaderskie January 10, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    We just have to wait for these old timers to die off. In 10-20 years the name will be changed to something we can actually be proud of instead of this embarrassment that requires a ridiculous explanation for why it’s not racist.

  • Fred January 10, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    As a newcomer to the area, I was chastened about saying “Mormon”, that locals found that name offensive. The name “Mormon” never offended me. Therefore, the locals will have to deal with my continued use of “Mormon”. The name “Mormon” is not offensive, despite what some Mormons think.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.