An important message to the leadership of DSU from Defending Southwestern Utah Heritage Coalition:
We were taken aback by Chairperson David Clark’s introduction of President Biff Williams at the Dixie State University’s 2020 State of the University Address. That he would mar President Williams’ positive address with his bombastic and condescending attack is totally beyond the pale. His attack labeled significant donors, current and former professors, alumni, current students, and a large swath of the Dixie Community as enemies to be shamed for advocating that the University’s current name not be changed.
Why such an attack? We asked Chairperson Clark this question immediately following President Williams’ address. He responded, still in an emotional state, that “we are not changing the damn name.” If true, his sentiments, while more appropriate for a different forum, are understandable. If true, we would cheer! But this was not the final word because the mixed messaging on the name change continued.
In a meeting immediately afterward with Chairperson Clark, the President and some members of the Board of Trustees, when pushed to make a public statement that they will not take any action to change the name during the upcoming legislative session, refused. Instead they continued with mixed messaging on the name, simultaneously stating that they had no current plan to change the name, but insisting on leaving open the possibility that they might decide to change the name in the future. In the end the meeting broke down, Chairperson Clark stood up, slammed his fist on the table, yelled “we’re done”, then tried to leave with President Williams, only to walk back and yell “bring it on”.
We’re not sure what Chairperson Clark meant by this statement, but if he meant advocating for the University and its good name and vigorously opposing the cancel culture forces that want to change it, we accept his invitation.
We urge the President and the Trustees to end the mixed messaging and speculation on this issue and publicly state they will not take any action to change the name.