Students attended the Community Name Change forum, but some were not welcome.
Some students went to the forum on Thursday, Nov. 29, to share their opinions on if “Dixie” should stay or be removed in the future name. Those who wanted it to stay were applauded, but those who didn’t want it to stay were rejected.
Justin Reber, an alumnus of Dixie State College, took notice of how the audience treated the minority who didn’t want “Dixie” in the name.
“There was sort of a mob mentality,” Reber said. “People weren’t necessarily there to listen, but to say their piece and to hear what they wanted to hear.”
Multiple students expressed how the word is hurtful to them and what it means to their history. Some community members in the audience would laugh or scoff at such comments, and one even yelled out “baloney” during a student’s comments.
“In a very bitter irony, the people who were saying this isn’t a racist place…were extremely disrespectful to minorities, students and anyone who had a different opinion,” Reber said.
Roi Wilkins, a senior integrated studies major from Salt Lake City, presented pictures from DSC’s yearbooks that displayed acts he questions and claims to be racist. This made multiple members of the crowd yell out and boo, and a man in the front laughed during Wilkins’ presentation of the pictures.
Erica Hille, a sophomore integrated studies major from Cottonwood Heights, said people were shouting that they thought the photos and claims made by Wilkins were false.
“One girl stood up and yelled, ‘No, they didn’t,’” Hille said. “They weren’t really open to what we had to say.”
Brody Mikesell, a senior integrated studies major from Henefer and DSC Student Association president, shared with the audience how students have told him how much the word “Dixie” hurts them, and the community should consider these students’ opinions.
Mikesell said some community members approached him and other students in teams after the meeting and told them why they were wrong.
He said some of the community members were disrespectful, especially during some students’ comments during the forum, but also that there were many who were respectful.
“It wasn’t shocking because people in groups tend to forget that anyone outside of that group is a human being with feelings,” Reber said. “It was very disappointing. I had a lot of trouble sleeping that night. I expected more of our community.”