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University of Utah weighing changes to ‘discriminatory’ fight song

Students, faculty, alumni and fans will be invited to chime in on the debate about possible changes to the 1904 lyrics.

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"A lot of fans would just mock it," Lawrence said. "I’d be frustrated by it. It’s a pride thing. You’ve been doing it your whole life, and all of a sudden now you have to change what you’re saying?"

Talk in recent years of ditching the school’s drum-and-feather logo or dropping the Ute name altogether has aggravated Lawrence. He believes ASUU’s proposal to change the fight song is based on a manufactured controversy.

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"One student wants to change the 100-year tradition," he said. "I’ve never met one person who thinks anything of it."

U. President David Pershing said the decision isn’t in his hands, but he’s aware of the issue.

"I certainly know it is a concern to some of our students, particularly female students, and some of the faculty," Pershing said. "We’re taking it very seriously."

Watching the football team practice Tuesday, Utah donor Spence Eccles said he’d be on board with a man-to-fan change, while head coach Kyle Whittingham said he hadn’t heard about the initiative and "it’s not my concern."

Trustee chair Clark Ivory said it’s a matter of balancing the school’s past and its future.

"It’s always a balance between maintaining tradition while at the same time being progressive enough to make changes that are inclusive and support our overall student body."


Twitter: @lwhitehurst

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Tribune reporter Matthew Piper contributed to this story.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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