SALT LAKE CITY – They sing it after every touchdown on the football field, but the University of Utah’s fight song is going to sound a little different from now on.
Complaints that some of the lyrics were discriminatory prompted the school to make some changes.
“We think that it’s important that members of our community know that we listen to them, and that we care about them feeling included,” said Barbara Snyder, who is the vice president of Student Affairs at the school. “We didn’t want the fight song to be something that divided people. We wanted it to be something that pulled people together.”
Snyder served as the chair of a task force created to address the concerns and come up with possible solutions. The group, composed of students, faculty and alumni, agreed on the following three changes:
1. Add the word “fan” after “man” in the opening stanza and chorus of the song as an alternate lyric
2. Update “our coeds are the fairest” with “our students are the finest”
3. Update “no other gang of college men” with “no rival band of college fans”
“The fight song isn’t just about athletics,” said Madison Black, the student body vice president and a member of the task force. “It’s not just about the students or the alumni. It’s about everybody here on campus. And I think it’s really important to make sure that everybody here feels like they’re part of the university.”
According to U President David Pershing, students are still welcome to sing the old version of the song, as it is an important part of the university’s history.
“It’s persevered for over 100 years, so that gives it credence I believe,” said Clint Bailey, manager of Archives and Records at the U.
The original song began as a fraternity chant in 1907, and it has undergone only a few changes over the years.
“Throughout its history there hasn’t been the discussion there is now,” Bailey said.
School administrators feel that the song should change with times, and they’re hopeful everyone will continue to sing it with pride, in the future.
“When you watch the MUSS at football games, we sing it loud and proud. So, it’s important to us and I think it’s good they try to include everyone,” Student, Oliver Atkinson said.
Utah Fight Song:
I am a Utah man, sir, and I live across the green.
Our gang, it is the jolliest that you have ever seen.
Our coeds are the fairest and each one’s a shining star.
Our yell, you hear it ringing through the mountains near and far.
Who am I, sir? A Utah man am I A Utah man, sir, and will be till I die; Ki!Yi!
We’re up to snuff; we never bluff,
We’re game for any fuss,
No other gang of college men
dare meet us in the muss.
So fill your lungs and sing it out and
shout it to the sky,
We’ll fight for dear old Crimson,
for a Utah man am I.
And when we prom the avenue, all lined up in a row,
And arm in arm and step in time as down the street we go.
No matter if a freshman green, or in a senior’s gown,
The people all admit we are the warmest gang in town.
We may not live forever on this jolly good old sphere,
But while we do we’ll live a life of merriment and cheer,
And when our college days are o’er and night is drawing nigh,
With parting breath we’ll sing that song:
“A Utah Man Am I”.