Utah Board of Regents brings DSC one step closer to Dixie State University; STGnews videocast

Utah Regent Rev. France Davis (back to camera) and Dixie State College of Utah Chair of board of trustees, Steven Caplin, (face to camera),
Utah Regent Rev. France Davis (back to camera) and Dixie State College of Utah Chair of board of trustees, Steven Caplin, (face to camera), exchange cordial embrace despite difference of opinion on the name change pending vote for the college. Dixie State College of Utah, St. George, Utah, Jan. 25, 2013 | Photo by Sarafina Amodt, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – The Utah Higher Education Board of Regents approved Dixie State’s new name and university status Friday, though the vote was not unanimous as it had been with the Board of Trustees a week earlier.

“This has long been a dream in our community,” DSC President Stephen Nadauld said, and added everyone was looking forward to the new opportunities a university in Southern Utah would bring.

“We have plans for moving forward,” Nadauld said. He also said funds that would go into the new university will go to help market the Dixie State University name so people outside of the area would “understand who we are and who we’re not.”  

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Utah Board of Regents convene to vote approving the name “Dixie State University” for Dixie State College of Utah, subject to confirmation by the Legislature; Dixie State College of Utah, St. George, Utah, Jan. 25, 2013 | Videocast by Sarafina Amodt, St. George News

Bonnie Beesley, chair of the Board of Regents, praised Nadauld for his leadership during Dixie State’s transition to university status, and remarked on how amazing it was that the college had reached the university benchmarks.

While the sentiment among the Regents was unanimous on the college’s assuming university status, not all were in favor of Dixie being retained in the new name.

One of the regents, Rev. France Davis, said that while the college was moving towards a university, “I wonder if we miss an opportunity to move forward on the name … I wonder if the word ‘Dixie’ might be more fittingly changed to a more fresh or new word.”

Davis said he had attended a conference on the East Coast in which he was asked by some of the attendees about the college, as the controversy over the name has attained national attention. One person even told him he was from the “real South.” Davis went on to say that some schools and institutions in the southern states had rid themselves of Confederate symbols over the years, and even changed their names.

“None of these name changes deny the history or heritage” behind them, he said.

Steven Caplin, chair of the DSC Board of Trustees, recognized Davis for having marched with Martin Luther King Jr. and leading an extraordinary life of service. He also said DSC had had retired its Confederate symbols, and that by doing so the college had “honorably demonstrated (its) social sensitivity.”

On Jan. 18, the Dixie State College Board of Trustees voted on the name and university status. They unanimously voted on Dixie State University which is what more than 80 percent of stakeholders wanted according to Sorenson Advertising’s study.

Caplin extended a personal apology to Davis and others who had been hurt by the old symbols and perceived acts of racism committed on campus in the past.

“I accept the apology,” Davis said, yet added that work still needs to be done in cleaning up the school’s image and making sure it is an open institution for every individual seeking a higher education.

At the end of the exchange between Davis and Caplin, the two men hugged. The act was accompanied with clapping and cheers.

Caplin went on to announce that a scholarship in Davis’s name had been created by the Board of Trustees, and that it is focuses on minority students. An anonymous donor gave the scholarship with $20,000. Caplin said the trustees have matched the original donation, bringing the total to $40,000 Friday afternoon.

Though an apology was made and accepted, Davis still voted against the DSC’s university status and name when a vote was called. His “nay” was echoed by at least one other regent, along with some members of the crowd. However, the majority of the regents voted in favor of the new Dixie State University.

After the vote, Davis said he didn’t think any amount of money spent on a marketing campaign could change national perceptions of Dixie.

“The historic meaning is heavy all over the country,” he said.

Jon Pike, vice-chair of DSC’s Board of Trustees, said it was great to have another step towards university status out of the way, and was looking to what lay ahead – the Utah legislature.

“I’ll feel the greatest when the governor signs the bill,” making the new university official, he said.

The regents will forward their decision to the state legislature where it will make the final call on what is slated to become Dixie State University.

St. George News video journalist Sarafina Amodt contributed to this report.

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

Twitter: @STGnews

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

Utah Regent Rev. France Davis (back to camera) and Dixie State College of Utah Chair of board of trustees, Steven Caplin, (face to camera),
Utah Regent Rev. France Davis (back to camera) and Dixie State College of Utah Chair of board of trustees, Steven Caplin, (face to camera), exchange cordial embrace despite difference of opinion on the name change pending vote for the college. Dixie State College of Utah, St. George, Utah, Jan. 25, 2013 | Photo by Sarafina Amodt, St. George News

 

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2 Comments

  • Dan Lester January 25, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    Maybe “the regents will forward” in the last line. 🙂

  • Maggie January 25, 2013 at 11:51 pm

    From all I have heard and read, the name Dixie was never meant to insult anyone about anything and it is part of the history of the area. The people love it and I know of no one that ever chose a college by the name only.Perhaps by the major they choose to pursue,the schools academic reputation the cost and location are factors. I would get over whining about the name ,if anyone asks about the name provide them with the history and if they choose not to come here because of the name,my guess is they would bring additional hangups and problems that we do not need anyhow.
    Actually all of this political correctness makes me laugh.I know two ladies ,not from here,that are named Dixie. If they move here must they change their name in order not to offend someone? They always seemed to function well in other areas of the country.
    The history of the USA is a rich one with good and bad experiences. We are what we are ,a rag tag bunch of misfits from all over the world.We did somethings right and some wrong,but we have evolved and we should all be proud and happy we landed here together and move on from this silliness. My ancestors are Irish,want to hear what they went through,how about the Asians?

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