University may change fight song after complaints that ‘Utah Man’ is sexist and ‘fairest’ is racist

Campus Reform Reporter

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  • U of U student government voted unanimously to change the 110-year-old song.
  • Professor expressed concern that "fairest" may be reference to skin color.
  • The University of Utah (U of U) is “seriously” considering changing its 110-year-old fight song over concerns that the title “Utah Man” is sexist and the phrase “our coeds are the fairest” is racist.

    The school’s student government voted unanimously to change the song in March, and the proposal will go before the school’s diversity committee and the academic senate before being sent to the board of trustees for a vote.

    "I don’t think I’m being hyper-PC, I’m just thinking about not really being included in the song."   

    One of the recommended changes is to change “Utah Man” to “Utah Fan.”

    Professor Joanna Yaffe said she sees not only sexism in the song but also racism — explaining that a line which states that the school’s “coeds are the fairest” could be interpreted as a reference to skin color.

    "I don’t think I’m being hyper-PC, I’m just thinking about not really being included in the song," Yaffe, an adjunct professor of psychiatry, said in an interview with The Salt Lake Tribune.

    Sam Ortiz, president of the Associated Students of the University of Utah (ASUU), said changing the song is an important step in making students feel comfortable.

    “The idea that man means both female and male is a little antiquated," Ortiz told The Tribune.

    "This, in my opinion, is really just a small thing we can do to make campus more inclusive,” he added.

    President David Pershing asserted the college is not taking the students’ recommendations lightly.

    “We’re taking it very seriously,” he said.

    But some students have said that the song is an important college tradition and should not be changed.

    “It’s part of history,” said Craig Murray, a 23-year-old English major.

    U of U did not respond a request for comment from Campus Reform in time for publication.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @kctimpf

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