A committee created to explore changing the name of Dixie State University in St. George, Utah, has formally decided in a 13-3 vote to drop “Dixie” from the school’s name.
The decision comes after focus groups and community surveys recommended it was time to scrap the university’s name due to its connotation with the Confederacy in the Civil War, according to a report by FOX 13.
Supporters of the school’s name, however, argue that “Dixie” is tied to Mormon pioneers who settled in the St. George area to grow cotton.
Dixie State Board of Trustee member and chair of the Name Recommendation Committee Julie Beck said in a statement on Monday that, “the university is working very hard to become the nation’s first and only open, inclusive, comprehensive, polytechnic university, which will offer students from southern Utah and beyond unique active learning opportunities to prepare for the in-demand careers of their dreams.”
“An institutional name that will not only highlight this academic mission but also distinguish the university on a statewide level will better support the aspirations of our students, alumni, faculty and staff,” Beck added.
Earlier this year, the Utah State Legislature approved a bill to change the name of Dixie State University. A new school name is expected to be presented to Dixie State’s trustees next month, which will be followed by the name being sent to the legislature for a vote next year.
Utah Governor Spencer Cox told FOX 13 that the new school name will not include “Dixie.”
Names that are currently being considered are reportedly monikers like Utah Technological University, Utah University of Technology & Arts, Utah University of Technology & Humanities, Utah Polytechnic University, Utah Institute of Technology, and Utah University of Technology.
The report added that the committee noted it will not use names like “Deseret” or “Red Rock.” The committee has also decided to remove from consideration any names using St. George, out of fear of being confused for a religious school.
Dixie State University is not the only school changing names in support of social justice.
In November, Cornell University announced that its faculty voted to change “English department” to “department of literatures in English,” as part of a broader campaign to eradicate “structural forms” of racism at the university.
Meanwhile, Harvard announced that it will consider renaming dozens of buildings on its campus, after some members of the Harvard community expressed concerns that some buildings are named after historical figures with questionable pasts.