ST. GEORGE — Mayor Daniel D. McArthur and the St. George City Council voted unanimously Thursday to declare their support of keeping "Dixie" in the area college's disputed name.

The resolution is intended to let those who will be re-naming Dixie State College know that the southern Utah city's local government encourages retaining the "Dixie" title. DSC is currently seeking university status. 

Councilman Gil Almquist, a Dixie alumnus, said the name invokes a spirit of hard work and community for those living in the area, rather than racism or slavery, as opponents of the name have argued.

"I was never offended with the title Dixie, and always associated it with the area," he said. "I am fully on board because of the love I have for what we call 'the Dixie Spirit,' which is of fun, community, hard work and getting along."

Almquist, a self-proclaimed history buff, said the Dixie nickname comes from the area's pioneer tradition of raising cotton in the warm climate, which he has enjoyed researching.

Members of the council sang the Dixie fight song as part of the public meeting.

McKenzie Romero

Twitter: @McKenzieRomero