Dixie State University (DSU) has formally proposed an institutional name change after an impact study concluded that the current name’s negative connotations continue to hinder job prospects for graduates.
On Monday, DSU announced a collective agreement to the change as recent graduates have reportedly put off prospective employers, losing out on career opportunities because of the controversial name.
“Preparing students for the careers of their dreams is at the very core of the university’s mission, so it’s crucial that a DSU education gives graduates a competitive advantage rather than present an obstacle they must overcome,” said University President Richard B. Williams.
Dear Trailblazers, the DSU governing bodies are recommending to the Utah Board of Higher Education an institutional name change for DSU. As always, our students were at the heart of this decision. For details, visit https://t.co/UPdRwroSu0. pic.twitter.com/rqJn8wEKap
— DixieStateUniversity (@DixieState) December 15, 2020
The negative response to the word “Dixie” dates back to the 1850s after 38 families settled in Southwestern Utah to turn the region into a cotton plantation. The community then adopted the nickname “Utah’s Dixie” which now touches on sensitive topics such as slavery and the formation of the Confederate States.
The decision to change the university’s name came after a two-month multi-dimensional and in-depth impact review led by the Cicero Group, a management consulting firm commissioned by DSU.
Around 22 percent of graduates surveyed said that employers voiced concerns upon finding the university on their résumés. The report also stated that 54 percent of faculty and staff, as well as 52 percent of alumni, believe that the continued use of “Dixie” will be detrimental to the institution.
Of course, such a big change will prove to be somewhat difficult for the school. The university’s official statement reads, “Although we deeply believe moving toward an institutional name change is in the best interest of our campus community, we understand this change will be difficult for many since the name has been cherished in our region since 1857.”
The Utah Board of Higher Education is set to review the name change request on Friday according to a spokeswoman for the state board.