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University of Utah students debate updating the school's fight song

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) - The debate over a long standing tradition is heating up on the campus of the University of Utah. Some believe it's time to change the words to the iconic fight song to include a more diverse student population.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) - The debate over a long standing tradition is heating up on the campus of the University of Utah.

Some believe it's time to change the words to the iconic fight song to include a more diverse student population.

The wheels for change were set into motion last week when the Associated Students of the University of Utah drew up a proposal to change the fight song.


The Hinckley Institute of Politics hosted a panel discussion Friday afternoon with a packed house heard strong opinions on both sides.

The title of the song is ‘Utah Man’ a familiar tune for fans who cheer their team to victory.

"I actually take pride in calling myself a Utah man. I think it is something that is not only important to me, but an entire lineage of Utah alums in my family, said Natalie Harris, who opposes change the fight song.


Some insist it's divisive and more of a reflection of the environment when the song was adopted back in 1904.

"When the fight song was written 2.8% of college populations were females. 2.8%, now it's above 50%. That's a drastic change," said Courtney McBeth, who favors changing the fight song.


That is just part of the debate over a proposal by Student Body President, Sam Ortiz to update the University of Utah fight song.

Starting with the title: from ‘Utah Man’ to ‘Utah Fan.’

Another sticking point is the line referring to the fairest co-eds in the land.

"I would applaud the people in 1904 for doing that, but I think our standards have progressed and our song should reflect the change,” said Ortiz.

This isn't the first time this discussion has surfaced. Similar efforts lead to no change in the title or lyrics. The most recent in 2007.

"We're not even entirely sure that when they said Utah man if that explicitly meant male. And fairest again at the contemporary definition makes no reference to skin color," said Cheston Newhall, who also opposes changing the fight song.

An argument that has held up in the past, but some insists the tide is turning.

"I want to build a tradition moving forward that's based upon inclusion in the song."

The resolution has certainly brought this discussion back into the spotlight, but at this point it is not binding. It would have to be approved by the administration to become official and at this point it's unclear if and when that will happen.
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