Monday, Sept. 1, 2014

U. student government passes resolution to change fight song

By Morgan Jacobsen, Deseret News

Published: Tue, April 22 10:06 p.m. MDT

 Student legislators at the University of Utah voted Tuesday to change controversial wording in the school's fight song, \

Student legislators at the University of Utah voted Tuesday to change controversial wording in the school's fight song, "Utah Man."

(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Student legislators at the University of Utah voted Tuesday to change controversial wording in the school's fight song, "Utah Man."

The song, which has been sung at U. sporting events for more than 100 years, has two phrases in question: "I am a Utah man" and "our coeds are the fairest." Possible replacements would be "I am a Utah fan" and "our students are the brightest," according to Associated Students of the University of Utah Assembly member Rachel Ridge.

JR11 passed the two ASUU legislative bodies, with 21 in favor, 15 against and one abstention in the Assembly; and seven in favor, three against and one abstention in the Senate.

Outgoing ASUU President Sam Ortiz said the lyrics have been exclusive and offensive to some students, faculty and staff at the university.

"Traditions are a way to connect generations," Ortiz said. "But I feel this has been divisive. … It's time for change."

Assembly member Alison Boyer said the lyrics have detracted from minority acceptance at the U.

"I think this fight song is setting a standard. It's allowing hurtful speech to be perpetrated," Boyer said. "Even if it was not intended to offend people, it's offensive to people now."

Others have questioned how much the words of the fight song affect prospective and current students.

"I don't think students come to the University of Utah for the fight song. I think people go to a college for the education," assembly member Ashley Newhall said.

Assembly member Cheston Newhall said more time should have been taken to inform students of the resolution proposing the change, and focus should instead be placed on addressing inequality issues on campus at-large.

"To try and address the issues of oppression at college events, I don't believe this is the best way to do it," he said.

The results of the vote will be sent to U. President David Pershing, who will decide whether to enact the change. If approved, it could take effect as soon as fall semester.

Email: mjacobsen@deseretnews.com

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1. Chris B
Salt Lake City, UT,
April 22, 2014

People choose to be offended.

And these student "leaders" certainly don't speak for me. I'm a proud Ute who will NEVER sing a changed version.

This is PC just going overboard.

Anyone who is offended by the fight song - go find a new school to cheer for, we don't want you.

2. Filthy Kuffar
Spanish Fork, UT,
April 22, 2014

Political correctness run amok.

3. Judith D.
Los Angeles, CA,
April 22, 2014

The people of North Korea have been living under inhumane conditions for generations. Russia seems intent on recreating the Soviet Union and Cold War. Around 25,00 children die each day due to poverty. And yet the young people at the U are up in arm about the word "fairest"? Please, children (and you are children), focus your energies on something important. How utterly disappointing you are to alum like myself.

4. Tom in CA
Vallejo, CA,
April 22, 2014

This is one of the few times I agree with Chris B -

We have become a society of panty waists. A bunch of shrinking daffodils. Yes - we choose to be offended. And we have allowed a small minority to rule over the masses.

It offends me that this kind of nonsense is happening. What, are we supposed to sing, "A Utah Person I Am"??? Good grief.

5. JoCo Ute
Grants Pass, OR,
April 22, 2014

Here's an idea for a new song for the student body government resolution. It's an old one and we all know the words. M I C K E Y M O U S E