Last week, a new semester began at Dixie State University, and while the classes may have changed, the school’s refusal to uphold its students’ First Amendment rights to free expression and free association remains the same.
After senior Indigo Klabanoff re-applied for official recognition for her student group, Phi Beta Pi, FIRE wrote a third letter to the school on December 18 explaining—again—why Dixie State cannot ban Greek letters in club names just to avoid a “party school” image. We sent the letter to Dixie State’s trustees, as well as the Board of Regents of the Utah System of Higher Education.
Disappointingly, Indigo’s group was denied recognition—again—on January 8, reaffirming Dixie State’s placement on FIRE’s 2013 list of the “10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech.” With continuing media coverage of the case, Dixie State administrators’ supposed efforts to protect the school’s reputation are achieving the opposite effect.
On Monday, the Dixie Sun News student newspaper reported on the university’s inclusion on FIRE’s dishonorable list and relayed remarks from two communication professors at Dixie State. Professor Eric Young said that Dixie State’s restrictions on club names “interdicts what free speech is all about.” Professor Randal Chase also questioned ...