ST. GEORGE, Utah (AP) — Southern Utah’s Dixie State University should change its name to Utah Polytechnic State University, a committee recommended Monday as the institution works to remove the term associated with the Deep South and slavery.
The recommendation that also includes a suggested nickname of “Utah Tech” comes after a national outcry against racial injustice sparked by the death of George Floyd.
The recommendation will go to university and state boards in the coming months before being weighed by a legislative committee. If it’s rejected the committee will work to pick another name.
The push to change the name of university in St. George, Utah, has faced backlash from those who say the term is important to the area’s heritage and is separate from the history of slavery.
The local nickname “Dixie” dates to when settlers with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints tried to make it a cotton-growing mecca in the 1800s.
The committee has been meeting and studying possible new names since March, under a process outlined in a bill Gov. Spencer Cox signed earlier this year. The committee collected feedback from a public survey, as well as students, university employees and community members before voting to remove Dixie from the name.