UPDATED: ASUU votes to support fight song changes

A cheerleader runs with a U flag before the Utah’s game against Colorado last season. Photo by Conor Barry.

A cheerleader runs with a U flag before the Utah’s game against Colorado last season. Photo by Conor Barry.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated from its original version to correct inaccuracies.

ASUU voted last week to support a potential change to make the U’s fight song, “Utah Man” more inclusive.

The joint resolution was drafted by ASUU president Sam Ortiz and passed unanimously by both ASUU’s Assembly and Senate. The bill does not make definite changes — it only stipulates that changes will be made, and that ASUU supports them. The actual changes will be proposed by the Academic Senate.

Mark Pittman, an ASUU representative from the College of Law, said he supported the investigation of the fight song because he wants to address student concerns about the song being discriminatory.

Several organizations will have to approve any changes to the song, so Pittman said he is not afraid of poor changes.

Ortiz said the fight song has entered “new arenas” such as graduation commencement ceremonies, raising concerns from a lot of students. He said that bill passed through the Assembly and Senate meetings without a single vote opposed to it.

“There are a lot of things that happen on campus that make different groups of students feel less at-home or welcome,” Ortiz said. “Some people are OK with it, but those people who aren’t comfortable with [it] are those who already feel marginalized.”

He said the U is doing everything possible to further the cause.

“I encourage students to voice their opinions to the ASUU president and his cabinet as they review the issue,” Pittman said. “ASUU takes student concerns very seriously, especially ensuring the inclusion of all students on our diverse campus.”

Ortiz said more is coming in regards to the issue. He said the next stop for the bill is the Academic Senate. Ortiz said the Board of Trustees would most likely hear the proposed changes after the Academic Senate.

“I’ve kind of always also felt that [the wording of the fight song] was a little male-centric and not inclusive,” Ortiz said. “The premise is, the song isn’t inclusive — how can we make it inclusive?”

Ortiz said the words of concern in the song are the repetitious “Utah man” phrases as well as “our coeds are the fairest” portion in the first stanza. Ortiz said that while many students might be afraid of changing a big tradition in the U’s history, he believes many students will get behind making it a more inclusive tradition.

“This is an example of something that makes this campus less inclusive,” Ortiz said “A lot of students choose not to participate in athletics because of things like this song and like the drum and feather.”

This joint resolution is the latest attempt by Ortiz and his administration to create a more inclusive environment on campus to help foster diversity. Ortiz has worked on a diversity training program for staff and faculty to help cut back on comments that make students feel unwelcome.

“I knew without having to talk to another student that this would be a divisive issue,” Ortiz said.



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  1. Liberal Idiot

    This isn’t serious right? I wish early politicking by last year’s administration wouldn’t have lead to the election of these morons.

  2. Utelove2

    This might be the biggest waste of time…the words “Utah man” really offend you? really?! Should we change the word “mankind” because it doesn’t “feel” inclusive too? Don’t ruin tradition and start focusing your energy on things that should really matter on campus right now.

  3. Alex Delarge

    So let me get this straight it’s ok to offend one group in favor of offending another? A straight answer from Ortiz would be appreciated..Time for the donors to the U of U take a stand at what has become an asinine situation!

  4. JMH21

    This is another example of why student government, at any university, is a complete waste of time. They don’t really have anything to do that means anything so they have to create problems where there are not any existing. If you are offended because the Utah fight song uses the term “Utah Man” then you have many more problems than this one. Personally I think we should ban all Helen Reddy songs because her most famous one is “I Am Woman” and that offends male students. These busy bodies need to get real lives instead of the fantasy one they are obviously living.

  5. do

    “A lot of students choose not to participate in athletics because of things like this song and like the drum and feather.”

    -let’s see your data here ortiz….wow, this is absolutely ridiculous.

    • Utes31Tide17

      I’d LOVE to see Ortiz name a single athlete who factored the fight song lyrics or logo into his or her decision.

  6. Karen Anastasopoulos

    Please be reminded of long-standing traditions!! Discriminatory? Really? I’ve been singing this school song with pride for many, many years. It’s very inclusive. I AM A UTAH MAN!!!!! along with all my friends who are female!!

  7. DG

    I am seriously shocked that this is even an “issue.” In the spirit of creating problems out of nothing, I propose that the term “mankind” be banned from use on campus. Also, to avoid offending out-of-state students (of which I am one) from feeling left out or discriminated against, the “The University of Utah” should be changed to “The University in Utah for All Students from Any Country or State” (abbreviated as UiUfASfACoS). I still can’t get over that this is what the student government is spending their time on.

  8. David

    All I need to know about Ortiz is his quote at the end of the article. “I knew without having to talk to another student that this would be a divisive issue,” Ortiz said. Seriously?! You haven’t bothered to talk to other students.

  9. Cool Cool

    Having participated as a representative of ASUU in 2008, I can say with certainty that ASUU is a complete waste. They meet twice per month to take themselves very seriously for 2 hours, and then proceed to shame each other into overfunding politically correct student groups while nitpicking and criticizing basic funding of mainstream and visible student groups. And then they run out of money by March because they are incapable of managing funds correctly.

    Why don’t we ask the Crimson Club? They should be 99% of the deciding vote on something like this. I bet that 90+% of the Crimson club would keep the song as-is.

  10. VegasUte .

    I have a very simple question: Why does Mr. Ortiz think this is an issue for ASUU?

    Does the fight song belong only to the current students? What about the 100,000’s of living Alumni, do they get a say?

    Yes the lyrics are archaic, but some would say that is part of the charm of Utah Man, it is a 110 year old set of lyrics, and now Mr. Ortiz thinks they need to be fixed?

    Please find a more worthwhile cause to invest ASUU’s time and resources.

  11. Paco Batty

    Inclusivity is such a waste of time. Why would we care about anything that critiques what the dominant majority has been doing for the longest time? While we are at it, the drum and feather issue is ridiculous. Seriously people shouldn’t be up in arms about something that continually leads to cultural appropriation creating a negative environment for native students. Why would we even care about them anyways since they are so underrepresented on this campus in the first place. They make up less than 1 percent of the student population, so let’s not even think about that for a second. Diversity at the U doesn’t even matter since white heterosexual people are the only ones that deserve the right to feel like they are included in higher ed. Everyone else’s narratives really don’t matter. Let’s just keep enforcing policies that restrict everyone that isn’t white or heterosexual. For example, all of the diversity student groups that are up in arms about not having a say in the hiring process for the next Vice-President of Equity and Diversity should just shut-up. It isn’t like the V.P. directly affects them or anything. Think about it, if the V.P. of Equity and Diversity actually did affect them, the other administrators would have actually included Dr. Octavio Villalpando in conversations and policy that had to do with diversity. Who are we kidding, if they let him do his job he might not have even felt the need to resign. Anyone who is interested in making the University of Utah more inclusive just needs to stop already. Seriously, it is getting ridiculous and I keep hearing all the white people(alumni board) feeling oppressed.

    • PJ

      So you are pissed about something completely unrelated to the fight song so the answer is to make some ridiculous claim about a song being noninclusive? A song that says our coeds are fair (when did saying a girl was praiseworthy become offensive?) and uses the term “man” in a way that can be interpreted as gender neutral or even if gender specific does no harm to any person to sing. IT IS A SONG! IT IS A CELEBRATION! IT IS A TRADITION! IT IS LIGHT-HEARTED FUN FOR EVERYBODY REGARDLESS OF WHAT GENITALIA THEY HAVE!

      • Paco Batty

        Actually, I am fairly indifferent. I simply think the critique on the possibility of looking into creating something more inclusive is rather ironic and humorous. Tradition! U.S.A.! Football! Political Correctness is stupid! Marginalizing other communities doesn’t matter, because we could never seek to understand what that means! It isn’t like there is privilege at play here at all. Those commenting always have to deal with micro-aggressions on a daily basis and are experts on inclusivity and diversity… Oh wait.

        • PJ

          I graduated from the U and now I live in Chicago. Please move here and tell me again how marginalized minority communities are at the U.

          • Paco Batty

            Woah woah woah, everybody back up. Homeboy lives in the inner-city now, he must know all about marginalization. Also, everybody can just shut-up it isn’t right to be worried about one wrong if it’s worse somewhere else.

          • PJ

            Oh, poor baby crying about mean people calling him Sir when he is “genderqueer” and how he has to use the men’s room. It is soo hard to live on the East Bench while private prisons are full of black men who may or may not be guilty of the crimes they have been charged with.

          • Paco Batty

            I’m Afro-Latino and I am fully aware of what goes on in private prisons. Again, in all honesty I don’t find the song to be high up on the list of priorities. I simply think the critique on the possibility of looking into creating something more inclusive is rather ironic and humorous. I also don’t think someone who posted gay as a pejorative and retarded all in the same post has any authority commenting on this. Also, if I was genderqueer and that was an issue I had to deal with, how in the hell would you have any idea what that would feel like? Seriously, it isn’t like there is any privilege at play here at all.

          • PJ

            The post you reference is itself a reference to similarly absurd propositions such as banning the pejorative use of the words “gay”, “retarded” and “bossy”. The proverbial “sticks and stones” attitude is a better solution in every one of these cases. Change attitudes by being successful and disproving stereotypes not by bitching (sorry if I offended your dog there).

          • Paco

            It is increasing the conversation at the least. This is also the last time I will feed the ignorant troll. You don’t know what it is like to feel racism on a daily basis. You don’t know what it is like for those around you to constantly make attacks on your identity. Grow a pair? How could you say that when you don’t truly know what it is a marginalized people go through? For me, racial-microaggressions are not something that only happens on occasion, they happen daily and are frequent. But why would that even matter? Like I said before white heterosexual people are obviously the only ones who have the right to feel safe/comfortable/free from attacks at a predominantly white institution of higher education.

  12. Masen Christensen

    “Man” is politically incorrect now? I need to brush up on my Newspeak… Eliminate thought crime is double plus good.

    • disqus_ybFwAfkFfp

      To refer to women as men and reducing women explicitly? Yeah, I guess you could say that’s politically incorrect.

  13. Brian Peterson

    Sorry Ortiz, you lost me at, “I’ve kind of always also…” Did anybody else double back to read that again? Plus, you like the word “inclusive” way too much!!

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