Now is the time for change. Now is the time to make difficult, even unpopular changes that allow us to grow as a unified state institution of higher education.
Now is the time to Change the Name of Dixie State University to: St. George State University.
"Dixie State University" was originally named "St. George Stake Academy”. Changing the name to SGSU represents a (re)connection to the founding of the institution.
Since the name "Dixie" has multiple meanings associated with it; focusing only on the positive associations while ignoring the hurtful and growth limiting associations is a naive understanding of the complex issue surrounding the name Dixie.
But, the word Dixie primarily refers to the southeastern united states (a confusing and problematic issues for our branding by itself), that definition of Dixie isn’t racist or intolerant! It is true, in our community, the word ‘Dixie’ was first used, primarily, to establish St. George as a warm southern alternative to the colder regions of northern Utah. However, this is not the sum total of what the word Dixie means today (both inside and outside of Utah). Over the course of the school's history, Dixie borrowed more than just the geographical nature of the name, it also embraced the Confederate identity of the south. While the nation was embroiled in the civil rights movement, Dixie established an identity by wrapping itself in the confederate flag, celebrating imagery of intolerance, including mock slave auctions, lynchings, and other forms of discrimination.
We cannot say the word “Dixie” only means something good or only means something bad, because it has, and always will have, both positive and negative connotations.
Holding on to the name Dixie will forever link us to troubling times. Coupled with a new Memory Gardens on campus, with “Rebels Forever” literally set in stone, makes our growth more difficult than it should ever have to be. Holding on to the name Dixie also prevents us from extending our reach as a comprehensive regional university. The name Dixie limits the people who will join our institution. It’s time to lay claim to our past, to own it, rather than letting it own us, and make the decision to move on.
It is time to elevate the stature of the University to meet its growing national and international reputation. It is time to “let the history be history.”
What this petition is seeking:
The removal of the name Dixie from our university.
The removal of all ties to confederate south and by extension issues of discrimination and slavery (including being “Rebels Forever”).
Simply changing our mascot to something more unifying than the controversial "RedStorm" won't be enough. This is about the name Dixie being removed as the banner of our identity.