Dixie State changes its name amid social justice pressure

After two years of pressure from activists, the Utah state legislature is changing Dixie State University’s name to 'Utah Tech University.'

In 2020, Dixie published a statement addressing the 'negative connotations' of the term while honoring the term's regional meaning, leaving any decisions over the name change to the state government.

After two years of pressure from activists, the Utah state legislature is changing Dixie State University’s name to “Utah Tech University."

"This is not a new conversation at Dixie State University. We used to be the Dixie Rebels so we changed our mascot. We used to have the Confederate flag (so) we changed that," Dixie President Richard Williams said, per KSL.com reporting. 

Campus Reform has covered activists' pressure on the university to change its name since 2020. 

The term “Dixie” created problems for the school and its affiliates beyond Utah. A report commissioned by the university from Cicero Group found that the term “Dixie” was impacting staff recruitment, admissions, and marketing, according to the local news outlet. 

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The name change will become official on July 1. 

The university has also released new athletic and school logos to correspond with the change, and the school’s website has begun using the new branding.

In 2020, Dixie published a statement addressing the “negative connotations” of the term while honoring the term's regional meaning, leaving any decisions over the name change to the state government. 

"We are cognizant of and sensitive to the multiple meanings associated with the name ‘Dixie. We respect the regional meaning of Dixie adopted by many, describing the local heritage and honoring the men and women who settled the beautiful St. George area," it read.

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petition created nine years ago to change the name acquired a mere 261 supporters — a fraction of its student body of over 11,000 people. 

Dixie State earned its name after its location in  St. George, Utah. The city has had the nickname “Utah’s Dixie” since 1857. 

According to Dixie State University's official news service, this was the year that a handful of families “moved to the southwest corner of the state to establish a town and grow cotton."

The statement acknowledges that “the regional name is used to honor the area’s pioneering heritage of grit, service, and sacrifice."

Campus Reform contacted Dixie State for comment and this article will be updated accordingly.