ST. GEORGE — An advertising company researching what's in a name for Dixie State College's imminent rise to university status revealed the results of its work Wednesday, offering four suggestions to be considered by the school's board of trustees later this month.
St. George-based Sorenson Advertising discussed the extensive results of its survey in an hourlong presentation, eventually proposing four names based on local, state and national appeal — Dixie State University, University of St. George, Utah Dixie University and Utah Dixie State University.
An overwhelming 83 percent of respondents — made up of students, alumni, faculty, staff and community members — said the controversial "Dixie" title could or should be part of the school's name.
Dixie opponents, including the NAACP, argue the term invokes a negative association with racism and slavery.
Erik Sorenson, the company's CEO, said that while supporters of the Dixie name associate the term with community, volunteerism, compassion and a pioneer heritage, the term has been tainted by racially themed campus activities tying the school to the South, the Confederacy or slavery.
Sorenson emphasized the school must strive to dissociate itself from "Confederate Dixie," adding that research indicated it would be easier to explain the school's Dixie culture rather than why the name was abandoned.
The results of the study are suggestions and will not dictate the board's decision, Sorenson said. A decision is expected when the board of trustees meets Jan. 18. Anyone wishing to voice an opinion on the name can submit comments at www.dixie.edu/namechange/ until the day before the meeting.
Copyright 2017, Deseret News Publishing Company