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Threats, attacks mar search for new Dixie State name

Dixie State name change
Posted at 4:12 PM, May 24, 2021

ST. GEORGE — Dixie State University officials Monday condemned recent attacks and threats made against students and staff as the school considers a new name.

READ: Utah legislature allocates Dixie State nearly $19M for expansion and other initiatives

In a statement to FOX 13, the school said attacks were made by "select community members." Another report claimed victims were targeted on Facebook.

"This uncivil treatment has impacted the health and well-being of various members of our campus community and proven disruptive not only to the name recommendation process, but also to the role the University plays in the community," the statement said.

The Deseret News reports Dixie State President Richard "Biff" Williams told the Utah Board of Higher Education last week that he had "dealt with a suicide watch" due to the social media threats.

In March, the Utah State Legislature gave final approval that began the process to change the name of Dixie State University. The bill allows for public input to be considered for the new name.

The school did not announce when a university committee will announce its recommendations for a name, but hopes it will be a more civil process.

"As Dixie State continues to focus on the success of our students and University community, it is our intention to continue the name recommendation process in a respectful and productive manner."