ST. GEORGE Utah
A University of Utah-proposed affiliation with Dixie State College comes with a handful of ironclad conditions but not every Dixie supporter likes the deal.
Among the primary concerns are requirements to drop Dixie’s “Rebel” mascot and handing over direct control of administrative and fiscal policies of the college to bosses in Salt Lake City.
“There is a very large group of people who want Dixie or the name Dixie to be preserved in the best possible way,” said St. George attorney and Dixie alum Ralph Atkin at a public hearing last week.
But that’s not likely to happen and strong emotions won’t change the equation, said Shandon Gubler, chairman of the DSC board of trustees.
In a letter to the Dixie board last week, university officials outlined 10 conditions for the merger. A six-member task force comprised of representatives from both school is considering the proposal.
“From the U’s perspective, the university is a national player with international scope,” Utah’s board chairman Randy Dryer said. “Here in Utah, we understand there is a difference between Utah’s Dixie and the Dixie of the old South. To the rest of the world, it means the Confederacy and slavery. The name is an issue of great importance to the university.”
Dryer said most of DSC’s board is willing to give up the mascot and local control.
DSC trustee Steve Caplin said he’s withholding support for the proposal until governance issues are clarified. That process is expected to take several months.
Atkin said many alumni feel disenfranchised by the process.
“We’ve never felt like we’ve had a fair hearing. Even so, I can’t overemphasize the fact that the desire to work with the University of Utah is there. It’s too bad the process didn’t.” he said.
Any affiliation agreement between the schools will require the approval of both board and the Utah State Board of Regents.
The state Legislature must also fund the new St. George school, although it’s unclear how much that might cost, Dryer said.
Information from: Deseret Morning News, http://www.deseretnews.com
© Copyright 2005 by DiverseEducation.com