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Utah university votes to pursue dropping ‘Dixie’ from name

Dixie State University logo

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A university in Utah voted Monday to move forward with an effort to drop "Dixie" from its name - an example of the nation's reexamination of the remnants of Confederacy and slavery.

Dixie State University, in St. George about 300 miles south of Salt Lake City, has faced scrutiny in the past over its name but had resisted changing. The area was nicknamed Dixie in the 1800s when settlers with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, many of them from the South, tried to make it into a cotton-growing mecca.

The university's Board of Trustees unanimously voted to recommend a name change to the state's Board of Higher Education after reviewing the final results of an impact study concerning the Dixie name. This comes after reports that Major League Baseball's Cleveland Indians are changing their name.

Dixie State has taken steps in recent years to remove some imagery related to the Confederacy. In 2009, the school's nickname was changed from the Rebels to Red Storm. A statue depicting a soldier on a horseback waving a Confederate flag with one hand and reaching out to a wounded soldier with the other was removed in 2012.

A group of students, faculty and activists unsuccessfully pushed for a name change in 2013. The school's board unanimously voted to retain the name after a marketing firm conducted a survey that found broad local support.

Supporters have said the name is important to the area's heritage and is separate from the history of slavery.

Article Topic Follows: Utah

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