Student, local input wanted for DSC’s university name change

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With the continued growth of Dixie State College, plans to gain university status are underway—as are procedures to change the name of the institution.

One of the measures in achieving higher status will take place at the campus town hall meeting Nov. 1. Faculty, staff, students and alumni are invited to attend the meeting and share possible ideas of what the name of the college will be for future generations. The meeting will be held in the Gardner Center Ballroom at 7 p.m.

An additional meeting will be held for interested community members at the Community Arts Center, 86 S. Main St., on Nov. 29 at 7 p.m.

Johnson said not only is the meeting going to be informative, but it will also be interactive, and those who attend the meeting are encouraged to share their input.

“Thursday’s campus meeting will serve as an opportunity for students, faculty, staff and alumni to discuss the naming options the college has as we continue the transition to university status,” Johnson said.

DSC officials have partnered with the St. George firm of Sorenson Advertising as part of the process to change the name.

“Part of the reason why we partnered with Sorenson Advertising is we’re going to use their impartial expertise in research and fact-finding capabilities to help us analyze the data that is gathered from all of the institution’s stakeholders,” Johnson said. “Once all of this research and data is analyzed, the information will be presented to President Nadauld and our board of trustees for their consideration and final decision.”

The majority of community members who have always lived in southern Utah know the area as Dixie, and a number of these people have worried feelings about the “Dixie” being taken out of the name.

Brandy Salisbury, a junior education major from Washington, said it won’t be the same if “Dixie” is not a part of the institution’s name.

“Keeping it Dixie would be more beneficial for the community,” she said.

Jessica Barson, a freshman nursing major from Springville, asked, “What does (the word) ‘Dixie’ mean?”

She was interested in knowing why there has been so much controversy in the word, but she said “Dixie” should definitely remain in the changed name.

Although community members might not be happy with “Dixie” leaving the name, people who have lived outside of the area see controversy in the connotation the word gives.

Sociology professor Matt Smith-Lahrman said there is heated controversy between locals and non-locals.

“If we’re going to be a university, we want to attract people outside of Utah,” he said.

For those outside of Utah, the “Dixie” in Dixie State College might be mistaken as a reference to the confederacy.

Smith-Lahrman would like to know if “Dixie” is staying in the name. He had a number of questions he would like to ask at the town hall meeting. One in particular was, “Is it a done deal, as far as keeping ‘Dixie’ in the name?”

He said it seems as if the decision has already been made by administrators and trustees, so he’s interested in knowing if people’s input is still worthwhile.

Johnson said public input will indeed be beneficial as Nadauld and the board of trustees need “the most amount of information possible so they can make the best decision for the institution.”

“We are lending voices and we are listening to every constituency of our campus,” Johnson said. “We’re not going to turn a blind eye or a blind ear to anybody if they have an opinion about something, and that’s why we brought in Sorenson Advertising. They were brought in to be an independent, third-party, unbiased entity in this endeavor.”

Johnson said the unveiling of the name will take place either July 1, 2013, or Sept. 19, 2013, the latter marking DSC’s 102 birthday.  He said the push is for July 1, but because a majority of students won’t be in class during summer semester, the formal celebration of gaining university status will likely be Sept. 19, so more students will be able to be a part of the event.