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Scott G Winterton/Deseret News

U. president to weigh 'possible updated lyrics' for fight song

By Josh Furlong | Posted - May 6th, 2014 @ 10:52am



SALT LAKE CITY — After a lengthy debate over the University of Utah fight song, university President David Pershing announced a committee to review “possible updated lyrics.”

The committee, which will be under the direction of the Office of Student Affairs, will consider possible alternatives to the current fight song lyrics and the implications of keeping the lyrics as is or making possible changes. The committee will seek input from current students, faculty, staff, alumni and fans and will give its recommendation to the administrative leadership sometime at the end of June.

“We appreciate that the U’s students, dedicated alumni and friends all have strong feelings on this issue,” Pershing said in a statement. “We are seeking a solution that respects the variety of views across our university community.”

Pershing acknowledged the “thoughtful and often lively debate” surrounding legislation brought up by Student Body President Sam Ortiz and the Associated Students of the University of Utah.

“They have weighed principles of diversity and inclusivity alongside appreciation for the importance of traditions and have concluded that it is time to consider a modest update in the lyrics,” Pershing said in a statement.

Members of the ASUU assembly said they had heard from students and other groups about the fight song, saying its lyrics were offensive to some.

“We’re one of the most diverse campuses, especially in the state of Utah, and we pride ourselves on our diversity and our ability to reach out and become a cohesive community,” Mark Pittman, College of Law representative said after the legislation was initially passed by the ASUU assembly. “If the fight song is offensive to any groups of people, we want to avoid that. We want to make sure that it’s as inclusive as possible.”

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One of the suggested changes to the song included changing the phrase, “a Utah man,” to “a Utah fan.”

Based on the numerous responses from current students, alumni and others concerned about the fight song, Pershing said he is “well aware of, and committed to, the importance of both tradition and inclusion in this conversation.”

“The history of our fight song, and other cherished customs, has many chapters,” Pershing added. “I hope this one will be remembered for cooperation and courtesy.

Those interested in providing additional comments or suggestions are encouraged to email fightsong@utah.edu. The comment period will be open until May 31, upon which the committee will close public discussion and weigh its options.

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