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Emails: Calls to update U. of Utah’s fight song evoked anger, pain
Emails » Opinions differ, but most comments are in favor of keeping the traditional lyrics.

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Several writers raised concerns about activities sponsored by student government, the Associated Students of the University of Utah (ASUU), such as movies and music they considered misogynistic.

"The ASUU claims to be concerned about the inclusion of women, but it seems that their actions belie their words," alumnus Craig Moir said about a showing of "The Wolf of Wall Street." "If this was truly an area they wanted to make a difference in, and not just an agenda being pushed by a few individuals, this movie would never have been sponsored by them. I saw that movie and was very uncomfortable with the way it portrayed women."

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About 12 percent of the commenters approved the changes and said the song has always made them feel uncomfortable or embarrassed.

Alumna Chloe Judkins wrote: "Each time the fight song is sung, I cringe due to the sexist, non-inclusive nature of the lyrics. ... It embarrasses me as a member of the alumni. Some [have] asked me why we have such a "misogynistic" fight song. That critique, coupled with the fact that we demean an entire ethnicity of human beings by parading them around as our mascot ... makes me uncomfortable and, at times, embarrassed to reveal my close association with the University of Utah."

Lee Anne Walker, who graduated in 1979 with a law degree, said: "I always hated that song. It felt like something very dated way back when. And [it] made me feel like an outsider. It seemed to be for males who were drinking together — and talking about females, not as peers included in the party but as objects or possessions. ‘Our coeds are fair...’ obviously wasn’t referring to outstanding future jurists. ... Hope the decision is not to be made by old white males nostalgic for sexism, racism and drinking."

Glade Ellingson, who earned a doctorate in 1990 and has been a staff member for 25 years, said, "I feel strongly that it is past time that we address the university-condoned sexism that is the ‘Utah Man’ fight song. Tradition is an insufficient reason to maintain lyrics. ... Although I have long been a Utah Man, I have never been entirely comfortable singing the song and no longer do so."

Some commenters submitted alternate lyrics. Others requested an entirely new song, describing the "Utah Man" melody as "clunky" and "old-fashioned," with one offering provisional support for the existing song "until you can get Billy Joel, Elton John or Paul McCartney to write us a new one."

There also was substantial support for restoring the original lyric that preceded the coed line: "We drink our stein of lager and smoke our big cigars."

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