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Students, Community Members Protest DSU Name Change Recommendation

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The committee charged with recommending a new name for Dixie State University in St. George recently suggested the name Utah Polytechnic State University. Proponents of removing “Dixie” from the school’s name argue the word glorifies harmful racist ideas, but other people say the university’s name is separate from the racism of the old South.

Chanting filled the air as hundreds of students and community members gathered at the Dixie State University campus in St. George on Wednesday to protest a recommendation to change the school’s name to Utah Polytechnic State University.

Quintin Read organized the event to help students and community members who oppose the name change to share their views. He said a new name should reflect something people want —even if that’s not Dixie.

“The students really just don't seem to want tech in their school, they seem to want something that is more like inclusive, all the different majors here," said Read. "They're saying it's not a tech school, you know, we're Dixie State University”

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People brought cardboard boxes to this event to represent the name Utah Polytechnic State University, which can be abbreviated to U-P-S University. Speakers and attendees, including Makenzie Griffiths, shared their concerns about becoming  a ‘tech’ school. 

“Everyone knows it as Dixie State and the whole tech school thing they're wanting to change it to, I think is just stupid in general," said Griffiths. "I personally don't want a tech name on my diploma, I'd rather have it as Dixie State.”

Amanda Ballif attended and said she came to protect her heritage because she does not believe the name ‘Dixie’ represents hate.

“We are a diverse group of people, we love. We love everybody. We're not excluding and we're definitely not racist. And for them to insinuate that is it's despicable,” said Ballif

The focus of this protest was to keep Dixie as part of the school’s name, but Read said there is more of an online presence for people who just didn’t support the newly recommended name.