Liberal associate professor Danelle Larsen-Rife wants Dixie State University to change its name.
Advertisement - story continues below
Dr. Dannelle Larsen-Rife (KCSG)
The psychology department professor says she understands the word “came from early settlers who came to grow cotton” but it’s still offensive.
The name of Dixie State University holds a history some consider part of their identity, but a university professor said times have changed.
Associate professor of psychology Dannelle Larsen-Rife has done extensive research on Dixie and explained that although she respects the meaning of the name, which came from early settlers who came to grow cotton, recent events have changed it.
One report has shown more than 80 percent didn’t want the name to change, but Larsen-Rife said only a selected population was surveyed and more than 40 percent of faculty wanted to change it.
“One of the problems of that report is that they only reported local opinion,” Larsen-Rife said. “They reported alumni and students and the community, but Dixie State University is a state university, and it now has a national and international presence, and when we’re operating on a larger stage like that, it’s important to note for the branding perspective, ‘how is this name perceived and how are we responded to on a national and international basis?’”
One well-respected faculty member told Larsen-Rife he recently spoke at a conference where people laughed when the name “Dixie State University” was announced after his name. He said he knew they weren’t listening from that point on.
“I just think that’s a travesty,” Larsen-Rife said. “It brings disrespect to the professional work we do here, and it doesn’t bode well for our students.”