The following letter was accompanied with a petition that included 115 signatures.
As a current student at Dixie State University, I feel it important to voice my opinion and the opinion of my fellow classmates, alumni, and community members. Dixie State University has a name that represents integrity, pride, honor and virtue. “The Dixie Spirit,” as it has come to be known, is felt not only by the students who attend this university, but also by the members of the community in which we are privileged to reside. I have attached a list which contains the names of those who share this concern, support this letter, and wish to preserve the good name of Dixie State University.
We feel that the erotic sex column casts a dark shadow on the name that Dixie State University and the surrounding community upholds and continues to work to establish. In order to maintain the integrity and standards we hold as a part of the Dixie Spirit, we ask that the erotic column in Dixie Sun News be discontinued.
The erotic column is tarnishing the name that Dixie State University has accumulated over the years. As you are aware, Dixie State recently celebrated its centennial year and achieved university status. Dixie State University created a name that made its alumni proud to say they attended Dixie State and received a diploma. Our most recent building bears the name of a man who stands for honor, integrity and virtue. We desire to have the new Dixie State University carry a name that represents the same integrity, virtue, honor and pride for all of the alumni and current students. The Dixie State University name should give hope to future students who want to become a part of the Dixie State tradition and be known not only for their academic successes, but also for their moral integrity and outstanding character.
Our greatest concern regarding the erotic column appearing in Dixie Sun News is that it makes pornographic literature available to minors. As Dixie State University has a preschool on campus and is host to a number of high school students currently enrolled, the material presented in the column is inappropriate and should not be accessible to underage individuals.
With the many talented writers on the Dixie Sun News staff, surely there are more positive and helpful articles to be written. As Dixie Sun News is funded with the tuition paid by students, we feel that the newspaper should reflect the values and viewpoints of all of the students who attend the university, not just a select few. We feel that a column on how to overcome addiction or how to achieve academic success would prove to be of more benefit to the student body and alumni who read the paper than a column on erotic sex.
We ask that you seriously consider our request to preserve and keep the Dixie State tradition. As concerned students, alumni and community members, we ask that the erotic column be discontinued.
Cardon is a junior general education major from St. George
To Cardon and his fellow petitioners:
We at Dixie Sun News are first and foremost happy that you care enough about the school and our publication to take action on an issue you feel so strongly about. We wish more students would get involved in the same manner in which you are.
However, we must address several items we fear you may be misinformed about.
First, we must clarify that no tuition money is allocated toward Dixie Sun News. We are funded through a combination of student fees and advertising.
Second, labeling our column as “pornography” is simply untrue. Pornography is defined as material that’s specifically meant to sexually arouse a person. We have not published, nor do we intend to publish, anything of that nature. We publish our column as a means of education and entertainment. The author of the column is writing content that pertains to 70 percent of the population. Yes, 7 in ten 19-year-olds have had sex. Ignoring this won’t make the statistics go away.
Regarding your suggestions for potential columns, we welcome any and all writers who want to contribute to Dixie Sun News. We’ve had a variety of column topics in years’ past from politics to health and from movies to technology. We would welcome any student who wants to write a column on religion or drug rehabilitation.
But a column is best written by a person who has knowledge of the topic and is willing to write new material every week or so. We don’t assign column topics; columnists pitch topic ideas to our editors. And to date, we haven’t turned down a single column idea.
As far as representing the values of Dixie State University, one of DSU’s key goals and values is diversity.
According to the college’s mission and core values page, “[DSU] will promote diversity among its employees and student body to enrich the teaching and learning environment. [DSU] will provide diverse educational, economic, cultural, and recreational opportunities.”
The Dixie Sun News would be doing both itself and the college a disservice if it didn’t attempt to offer content to every demographic on campus. As you stated, “We feel that the newspaper should reflect the values and viewpoints of all of the students who attend the university, not just a select few.”
Currently, we can honestly say we do reflect the values and viewpoints of all students. We cover student government, sports, gallery showings, theatrical performances, service projects, club news, student housing, politics, food, technology, films and myriad topics between. It just so happens that one of those topics is on sexuality—something that pertains to at least 49.9 percent of Utah’s college students.
It’s safe to say that almost half of our readership is not a “select few.” One could consider 115 signatures, not all of which are students’, from a campus of almost 8,000 to be a better representation of a “select few.”
And to be fair, when we conducted our poll earlier this year for the article, “Students polled; majority say sex column OK,” by Heather Dake, we spoke with people who actually read Dixie Sun News. While we don’t doubt your petitioners are concerned about this topic, we don’t know if they are readers.
And finally, the numbers themselves do not lie. The column is one of the most read articles on DixieSunNews.com, second only to the Macklemore coverage. How can we logically say the column in question is something our readers do not want when it’s part of the most popular content on our website?
However, despite the amount of support we have received for keeping the column, your concerns and actions have not fallen on deaf ears. We have drafted a new and final poll regarding the column. You can find it at Facebook.com/DixieSunNews.
This will be the last chance for our readers to decide if the column should remain as a bi-weekly part of our printed issue, if it should be published online only (thus eliminating any concerns of physical distribution to non-college students on campus), or if it should cease being published completely.
We urge you to take the poll and share it with your friends. This poll will decide the fate of our column on sexuality.
Thank you very much for your ongoing concern for our institution and our publication.
-Matthew Jacobson, Editor-in-Chief