ST. GEORGE – The Utah Higher Education Board of Regents approved Dixie State’s new name and university status Friday, though the vote was not unanimous as it had been with the Board of Trustees a week earlier.
“This has long been a dream in our community,” DSC President Stephen Nadauld said, and added everyone was looking forward to the new opportunities a university in Southern Utah would bring.
“We have plans for moving forward,” Nadauld said. He also said funds that would go into the new university will go to help market the Dixie State University name so people outside of the area would “understand who we are and who we’re not.”
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Utah Board of Regents convene to vote approving the name “Dixie State University” for Dixie State College of Utah, subject to confirmation by the Legislature; Dixie State College of Utah, St. George, Utah, Jan. 25, 2013 | Videocast by Sarafina Amodt, St. George News
Bonnie Beesley, chair of the Board of Regents, praised Nadauld for his leadership during Dixie State’s transition to university status, and remarked on how amazing it was that the college had reached the university benchmarks.
While the sentiment among the Regents was unanimous on the college’s assuming university status, not all were in favor of Dixie being retained in the new name.
One of the regents, Rev. France Davis, said that while the college was moving towards a university, “I wonder if we miss an opportunity to move forward on the name … I wonder if the word ‘Dixie’ might be more fittingly changed to a more fresh or new word.”
Davis said he had attended a conference on the East Coast in which he was asked by some of the attendees about the college, as the controversy over the name has attained national attention. One person even told him he was from the “real South.” Davis went on to say that some schools and institutions in the southern states had rid themselves of Confederate symbols over the years, and even changed their names.
“None of these name changes deny the history or heritage” behind them, he said.
Steven Caplin, chair of the DSC Board of Trustees, recognized Davis for having marched with Martin Luther King Jr. and leading an extraordinary life of service. He also said DSC had had retired its Confederate symbols, and that by doing so the college had “honorably demonstrated (its) social sensitivity.”
On Jan. 18, the Dixie State College Board of Trustees voted on the name and university status. They unanimously voted on Dixie State University which is what more than 80 percent of stakeholders wanted according to Sorenson Advertising’s study.
Caplin extended a personal apology to Davis and others who had been hurt by the old symbols and perceived acts of racism committed on campus in the past.
“I accept the apology,” Davis said, yet added that work still needs to be done in cleaning up the school’s image and making sure it is an open institution for every individual seeking a higher education.
At the end of the exchange between Davis and Caplin, the two men hugged. The act was accompanied with clapping and cheers.
Caplin went on to announce that a scholarship in Davis’s name had been created by the Board of Trustees, and that it is focuses on minority students. An anonymous donor gave the scholarship with $20,000. Caplin said the trustees have matched the original donation, bringing the total to $40,000 Friday afternoon.
Though an apology was made and accepted, Davis still voted against the DSC’s university status and name when a vote was called. His “nay” was echoed by at least one other regent, along with some members of the crowd. However, the majority of the regents voted in favor of the new Dixie State University.
After the vote, Davis said he didn’t think any amount of money spent on a marketing campaign could change national perceptions of Dixie.
“The historic meaning is heavy all over the country,” he said.
Jon Pike, vice-chair of DSC’s Board of Trustees, said it was great to have another step towards university status out of the way, and was looking to what lay ahead – the Utah legislature.
“I’ll feel the greatest when the governor signs the bill,” making the new university official, he said.
The regents will forward their decision to the state legislature where it will make the final call on what is slated to become Dixie State University.
St. George News video journalist Sarafina Amodt contributed to this report.
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- Name change forum, Dixie State College encourages public input on university transition
- Dixie State students convene over school name change
- Letter to the Editor: Minority Coalition stance on college name change
- ON Kilter: Dixie State; there’s more at stake than a name
- Perspectives: Dixie State College, resisting the tyranny of the minority
- Confederate soldiers come tumbling down; Dixie State College feeling the heat?
- ON Kilter: When a sculptor shapes public perception, who speaks for whom?
- Letter to the Editor: Restore Dixie; bring back the Rebel and the Confederate statue
- On the EDge: Be a ‘real’ Rebel, accept Dixie name change
- Perspectives: Reading old books, an antidote to thought control
- Silent vigil focuses on Dixie State name change; STGnews videocast
- Dixie-ites dead set on name retention at Sorenson forum; STGnews Videocast
- What the HAYnes? White Elephants and firemen
- Dixie State College announces name change survey results
- Council resolution recommends ‘Dixie’ remain in university name
- OP-ED: Final call to action; Washington County Minority Coalition on Dixie name change
- Applause and song resound, Dixie name change survey results; STGnews Videocast and Photo Gallery
- DSC Trustees unanimous: University status, ‘Dixie State University;’ STGnews videocast
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