- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 13, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Dixie State University is planning changes to its mascot and school nickname, but officials say they won’t alter the official name that some say has racist connotations.

Authorities at the university in St. George said Monday they’ve hired a public relations firm and are forming a committee to change the nickname Red Storm and the mascot called Big “D” the Bull.

Administrators say their research shows people want a clearer, more authentic brand. They plan to finish the process in 2016.

There have been calls to change the name Dixie, but supporters say it has local meaning with no racist connotations.

Dixie is a nickname for the South, particularly the states that were part of the Confederacy. In Southern Utah, the name dates back to the 1800s, when Mormon settlers tried to grow cotton there.

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