Dixie State name change: School bought Tech URLs from Polytechnic, Utah in 2020

Dixie State University registered several domain names for possible new university names a year ago, including names that recently surfaced as the top recommendations of a committee in an ongoing process. aimed at changing the name of the university.

While critics of the school’s name change argue that the domain buys show their opinions were never really taken into account, university officials argue that the URLs were bought simply to prevent anyone from viewing. do this in case a new name is selected.

According to whois.com, which identifies the owners of the domain names, Dixie State University registered utahpolytechnicuniversity.com, utahpolytech.com, and utahtechuniversity.org with GoDaddy.com on June 23, 2020.

It was a week before the university announced on July 1, 2020, that it was gathering information regarding the name of the institution, noting that university leaders were “aware of the current and widespread national and local dialogue regarding racial symbols, terms, monuments, policies, names and more.In addition, we are aware and sensitive to the multiple meanings associated with the name “Dixie”.

The press release went on to say, “Despite the current media coverage, there is no formal process in place to change the name of Dixie State University at this time.”

DSU spokesperson Jyl Hall said in an email that it was “industry best practice to secure any URL associated with a brand name to prevent any content not generated by our university. to appear when someone is looking for us. We have purchased URLs ending in .com, .org, etc., so once a final name is accepted by all approval bodies, we own and can redirect the pages with the new name to our official website .edu.

Hall said the university has “hundreds of domain names. It is important that we are prepared for any directions the name recommendation process may take. “

The university pays an average of $ 10 to $ 15 per URL, “a small price to pay to protect our precious brand,” she said.

The domain names were registered three months before the chairman of the university’s board, David Clark, at the university’s annual state of the university event last September, assured to the community that “there is no secret plan on the part of the trustees to change the name to Dixie State.”

Further, there was “no secret plan” on the part of the Utah Higher Education Council or state legislators, since under state law only the legislature of Utah has the legal authority to change the names of public universities or colleges, he said.

Tim Anderson, a St. George attorney who served for 12 years on the Dixie College Foundation board of trustees and was a staunch opponent of the name change, said he learned later in the fall of 2020 that the university’s work to research multiple domain names had started over the summer.

“So actually there was a big plan to change the name and, in my opinion, that really called into question the credibility of the whole movement by the leadership of the university,” Anderson said.

“It bothers us all here, it’s a major concern that we all have,” Anderson said.

Hall said it’s best to secure domain names before announcing “even a potential name change … so others can’t.”

Large organizations are often targeted when they announce that they are considering a name change. “Popular domain names can cost tens of thousands of dollars. We were proactive to make sure that didn’t happen to us, ”Hall said.

Quinton Read, a nursing student and cross-country athlete who will be entering his junior year this fall, said the sequence of events raises questions, but his biggest concern is that students feel their voices are n ‘was not heard, and that they were not sufficiently involved in the name selection process.

Read is among the organizers of a campus protest scheduled for Wednesday night against the recommendation of the committee named Utah Polytechnic State University.

“They want a name that represents all of the students and all of our respective majors and we really don’t want to step back. We want a name that is going to make us unique and something that people can kind of support, ”he said.

Read said when he heard the recommendation, “I just thought, as a man, I don’t really want to run and compete with such a weird name on my jersey. I know a lot of other athletes feel the same way.

Students, alumni and community members opposed the committee’s recommendation, with more than 16,000 people signing a petition on change.org.

The petition says in part: “As students we feel ignored, disrespectful and that the institution wants to make the decision without any input from us. As a community, we are asking for something that will represent southern Utah and that we can be proud of.

Dixie State University deserves something better than UPSU !! ”

Hall said university officials “feel very confident that the process has been thorough, transparent and inclusive.” In addition, the process is ongoing and has generated 20,000 responses, she said.

“We heard from 14,449 community members, including 3,352 students – over a third of our student body – in the community survey. We heard from 400 community stakeholders in depth in two rounds of focus groups, including community leaders and student leaders who represented the voice of their demographics, ”she said.

Memes have surfaced using the United Parcel Service logo in mockups of the Utah Polytechnic State University abbreviation, UPSU.

“We are aware that the acronym UPSU is problematic and never intended to use the acronym. Similar to other schools across the country with polytechnic missions, a short name – like Utah Tech, Utah Poly, or Utah Polytech – would be used in place of an acronym, ”Hall said.

In December 2020, university administrators and later the higher education council voted unanimously to change the name of Dixie State University. Clark and other administrators said they changed their minds after learning from a college-commissioned Cicero Group impact study how the institution’s name affects graduates because some unfamiliar people with the region perceive that the name has racist connotations.

Anderson said the finds were an affront to the region, its people and its history.

Only the Utah legislature has the legal authority to change the names of public colleges and universities. Lawmakers addressed the issue during their 2020 general session. After a standoff between the Utah House and Senate, lawmakers finally agreed on a replacement version of HB278, which called for a process. audience to address community concerns that their voices had not been heard.

Thus began a vast process which included surveys and the convening of nearly 50 focus groups. Julie Beck, the committee chair, told the Deseret News editorial board that she had personally spoken to 500 people as part of the name recommendation process.

Last week, the name recommendation committee appointed by the university trustees voted to recommend the name of Utah Polytechnic State University to trustees. The committee also recommended that the university be known as Utah Tech for short. Three committee members left the meeting before the vote.

Randy Wilkinson, one of three committee members who left the meeting, read a letter that acknowledged the hard work that had been done in the committee process, but “with all of these good efforts he was intentionally enveloped in a predisposed strategy to belittle, denigrate and defeat this Dixie name and downplay the adherence to the history, heritage and traditions of the people of southwest Utah, or better, the people of Dixie from Utah .

The DSU Trustees will review the recommendation from Utah Polytechnic State University at their next meeting.


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