Dixie State University’s Institute of Politics to host discussion on institutional name

Dixie State University’s Institute of Politics & Public Affairs is hosting a panel discussion surrounding the proposal to change the university’s name.

The discussion is set to take place at noon on Thursday, Jan. 21, and will be moderated by Vince Brown, director of DSU’s Institute of Politics & Public Affairs. The event will feature a balanced panel to reflect the university’s position, where the faculty stands, the student perspective and the questions and concerns that the community at-large may have. Panelists include Dr. Jordon Sharp, Dixie State’s vice president of marketing and communication; Dr. William Christensen, DSU professor of business management and Faculty Senate president from 2020-21; Troy Blanchard, local attorney; Tim Anderson, local attorney; and Penny Mills, DSU student body president.

“At a time when our nation has difficulty discussing issues in a civil manner, I know that we in St. George can be better; a shining example of how to take a contentious issue and logically and reasonably work through it,” Brown said. “The Institute has hosted many events on very difficult subjects, but found common ground. We focus on evidence and reason to help open minds, educate the community and get people to listen to one another. This is a fantastic and distinguished panel. I am excited to moderate the event.”

The discussion comes on the heels of the DSU Board of Trustees and Utah Board of Higher Education unanimously voting to recommend an institutional name change. The matter is now going before the Utah State Legislature, where a vote must take place because the institution’s name is in state statute. This fall, the university commissioned Cicero Group to conduct a study that examined the positive and negative impacts of continuing to include Dixie in the university’s name.

In hosting this event, the Institute of Politics seeks to facilitate a civil discussion that explores the arguments in favor of and against changing the name “Dixie.” The institute’s events are designed to educate, inform and seek common ground, through civil dialogue that explores the facts.

The discussion will be held at the Mainstage Theatre in Dixie State’s Dolores Doré Eccles Fine Arts Center, with overflow seating available in the Gardner Center Ballroom. Seating is limited due to COVID-19 restrictions, and doors open at 11:30 a.m. Dixie State students will receive priority seating, so online participation is highly encouraged. The event will be live-streamed on the institute’s Facebook page at facebook.com/dsupolitics.