Professor at DSU suggests changes, says name ‘Dixie’ has ties to Confederacy

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ST. GEORGE, Utah – State officials across the country are removing confederate symbols from public places, and now a Dixie State University professor says there should be changes in Utah.

Dannelle Larsen-Rife believes Dixie State University should officially cut ties with old South symbols. In 2012, when the school obtained university status, state officials cut ties with the former rebel soldier mascot and other uses of the confederate flag, but the name "Dixie" remained.

“Outside of Southern Utah, Dixie has an entirely different meaning,” said Larsen-Rife. “It’s associated with the Confederacy, and now it’s associated with hate crimes.”

Larsen-Rife hopes the recent events, including the racially charged mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, will open a dialogue about what the word “Dixie” really means, and whether it’s appropriate for a public institution.

Many have argued it’s use in Southern Utah solely refers to the Mormon pioneers who settled Washington County. They called the area Dixie as part of their mission to grow cotton. Larsen-Rife said she respects that history.

“There are large numbers of people who identify with Dixie meaning southern, and that’s their heritage, and I understand that and I feel compassionate to them," she said. "And I say changing the name of the public institution doesn’t mean taking Dixie away.”

Larsen-Rife said the biggest concern is how the school is portrayed on a larger scale, both academically and financially.

“A faculty just shared with me that he presented at a conference, he was introduced, and when they said Dixie State University, people laughed,” said Larsen-Rife. “How can it really raise the stature of this institution?”

School officials declined to comment, but a spokesperson said in a statement “at this time Dixie State University is not considering a name change.”

Students FOX 13 News spoke with on campus Wednesday say there is no need to change.

“We are our own place here at Dixie,” said Andrew Pickney. “Our name has been established through hundreds of years of our own personal history here. It’s got nothing to do with where it came from, but who we are today.”

Larsen-Rife said her main goal is to fight against racism and discrimination is all it’s forms, more information on the effort can be found on the Southern Utah Anti-Discrimination Coalition’s Facebook page.



    Leave the name alone and dump the professor, Dannelle Larsen-Rife. No one has ever associated Dixie State University with hate crimes. For heaven’s sake!!

  • Finny Wiggen

    lol!! Liberals are so funny!
    I better check my “white privilege…” and stop with my “micro-aggressions…”

    These are the people teaching our young people…

  • Matt

    I guess we should also change the names of Big and Little cottonwood canyons because the word “cotton” could be associated with slavery. Also, South Salt Lake should change it’s name because “South” could be associate with the confederate states. We should also ban any referance to Texas, Arkansas, Georgia, Virginia or the Carolinas etc as they were all slave states. Oh, and lets not forget the word “Democrat” because it was the Democrat party that support slavery at that time. Just in case anyone forgot about that.

  • mediadagger

    Zack Whitney,
    Not to be a cotton-pick in’ nit-picker, but “its” and “it’s” are often misused in writing. It’s a distraction to an article’s message; one should be careful with its usage. I’m sure AutoCorrect can be blamed much of the time.
    Regardless, thanks for presenting the issue!

  • Brandon

    There was a perfect opportunity to change the names just recently, but they stuck with dixie. I understand the pioneer history that goes with the name but 99% don’t. Maybe we could call it “Southernist Utah University”. “University of the Virgin Valley” “Our Dirt is Redder than yours” or something.

  • Shan_30ish

    My Grandmothers name is Dixie. She was born & raised in Iowa. Guess she needs to change it so people won’t think she plans to start her own country. *rolls eyes*

  • BillWhit

    Just as the Nobel Peace Prize was made into a joke and a worthless prize by giving it to Arafat and Obama, now it is nothing but a joke, the title “Professor” has taken that Leftist Leap into that same bucket of vomit and laughable titles! Unless it is a Medical Professor, someone who actually learned and can help people, like the Professor who also is my surgeon, then that title is nothing more than a narcissist leftist claim that they learned to read! Certainly does not enhance any intelligence in that person using it, and this is a good example of that laughable title for Leftist Idiots! The majority of University Instructors fall under this category today! Just a joke of a title like the Nobel Peace Prize!

  • Ben Marsh

    You know I was upset when they took away the flag and was down right mad they took away Rodney Rebel. Oh and yes Im black. The battle flag of the confederations is just a DANG FLAG. I was proud to be Dixie Rebel. Dont know what the heck a Red storm is. You folks need to stop reading too much into stuff . STOP REINVENTING THE WHEEL. All youre doing is giving validation to that evil nut case who killed those folks in South Carolina

    • Steve Gifford

      I guess we will have to change the name of the university to “Generic University” just to play it safe. I am pretty sure that most blacks don’t want their history to be removed. By removing all symbols that represent anything to do with slavery, they will in essence remove all history. Good and bad events of the past all happened. We should not remove history. History itself is taught so we can learn from it. If we remove the historical disgrace slavery was we will repeat it.

  • Tom

    Looks like someone is seeking their 15 minutes of fame. If you’re going to change anything, change the stupid mascot!

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  • Seriously?

    Her main goal is to call attention to herself. Hopefully she’ll become really important and get a job somewhere else! If she “respects” the area’s history, she wouldn’t even bring this up. If she is smart enough to earn the title “professor,” she is smart enough to “educate” her peers from outside Utah about the “real” meaning behind the university moniker.

  • DDS

    Dixie College? Dixie cups? Win-Dixie grocery store? Dixieland music? We have a lot of work to do…

  • David Whittington

    Professor Dannelle Larsen-Rife should change HER name. I find hyphenated names very pretentious and gaudy and offensive. The hyphen is the hallmark of the phoney intellectual.

      • bob

        You can tell liberals are smart because of the brilliant quality of their insults.

        “He in him mother basement haha derka derka……” Yip, u too smart fer me. Liberals got dem big ol’ brains.

  • Mike

    Wow!! I am from, and my family is still, from the Old South of Georgia. We can go back a millennia to read the roots of everything, but modern perception is reality. The Confederate Flag has over the last century turned into a sign of hate, and I feel that it should go- it is the last bastion of identity for a defiant and somewhat ignorant few. HOWEVER, Dixie, in its modern definition of the South, represents Charm, Warmth, Chivalry, Manners, Cuisine, Architecture and a slow pace. It doesn’t define a land of Racism and Hate; Unless, a select few looking for “air time” start charging that hype. Thank you for that new spin and thank you for understanding how it is, and was, growing up in the South. Too bad…”The Sweet Land of ‘Dixie'” is permanently tarnished by your Political correct air-time ploy- even though you probably aren’t from the region. You voice for others, without even knowing what its like to drink fresh lemon aid with your neighbors on a porch under the shade of a Spanish-moss laden oak tree, while your grandfather thumbs Otis Redding Tunes on a soft guitar – ’cause that’s the only Dixie I know.

    • bob

      You let them steal the Battle Flag. What makes you think you can preserve “Dixie”?

      Never give a bigot an inch.

  • robert

    someone needs to find something for these people to do, this country is getting so messed up and backwards . things that shouldn’t be ok are fine, while they are trying to change the very history this of this country because , someone decided it hurts their feeling … so so wrong !!

  • Dont

    She needs to shut her mouth.
    Absolutely no one in town cares about this childish pandering, nor do we want to ‘have a conversation’ about it.
    Take your whiny liberal antics, your hyphenated name and the idea that people should take you seriously, and get them out of one of the last great free cities in the US.

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