Students Vote to Change Lyrics of Fight Song "Utah Man"By Staff Reporter, UniversityHerald Reporter
Associated Students of the University of Utah voted Tuesday to modify the lyrics of the school's fight song, "Utah Man" in an attempt to adapt to changing times. The song, penned in 1904, has been playing at U. sporting events for more than 100 years.
Assembly member Rachel Ridge said that the association was urging president David Pershing to change the controversial wordings in the song "I am a Utah man" and "our coeds are the fairest" as they were found to be offensive to certain students, faculty and staff at the university," Desert News reports.
They claim that "Our coeds are the fairest," particularly can be deemed sexist and racist. The phrase can be interpreted as supporting a white or fair appearance. While the "Utah Man" is patriarchal and non-inclusive of the entire campus community.
The association is proposing to update the two phrases in question with "I am a Utah fan" and "our students are the brightest."
"I don't want to get rid of tradition, I love tradition, I just want a more inclusive tradition," said outgoing student body president Sam Ortiz, the Salt Lake Tribune reports. "Traditions are a way to connect generations," Ortiz said. "But I feel this has been divisive. ... It's time for change."
On Tuesday, the students voted 21-15 in the House and 7-3 in the Senate with one abstention in each of the Legislative body.
"It's allowing hurtful speech to be perpetrated. Even if it was not intended to offend people, it's offensive to people now. It's not that we're getting rid of the whole fight song, it's just three words," said Rep. Allison Boyer. "This is very exciting. It's going to make students proud of how the university is moving forward."
Other campus community members have questioned the necessity of the modifications. Assembly member Ashley Newhall said that prospective students attend University of Utah not mainly for the fight song but for the education.
President Pershing will now decide whether to implement the proposed changes based on the outcome of the voting process. If approved, the changes will take effect, beginning fall semester.