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.
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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.
- Dixie State College launches name change survey, seeks public input
- Name change forum, Dixie State College encourages public input on university transition
- Dixie State students convene over school name change
- Letter to the Editor: Minority Coalition stance on college name change
- ON Kilter: Dixie State; there’s more at stake than a name
- Perspectives: Dixie State College, resisting the tyranny of the minority
- Confederate soldiers come tumbling down; Dixie State College feeling the heat?
- ON Kilter: When a sculptor shapes public perception, who speaks for whom?
- Letter to the Editor: Restore Dixie; bring back the Rebel and the Confederate statue
- On the EDge: Be a ‘real’ Rebel, accept Dixie name change
- Perspectives: Reading old books, an antidote to thought control
- Silent vigil focuses on Dixie State name change; STGnews videocast
- Dixie-ites dead set on name retention at Sorenson forum; STGnews Videocast
- Dixie State College to announce name change survey results
- Council resolution recommends ‘Dixie’ remain in university name
- OP-ED: Final call to action; Washington County Minority Coalition on Dixie name change
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