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The Marriage Wars: What’s up with U of U’s fight song
May 21, 2014 | 4820 views | 1 1 comments | 186 186 recommendations | email to a friend | print


Considering the challenges faced by students at the University of Utah (including high tuition and finding suitable major-specific employment following their graduation), I don’t understand why so many are wasting time trying to convince the rest of us that the school’s fight song needs to be changed.

Attending the games, I see female students and alumnus vocally proclaiming that they too are a “Utah man.”  I don’t see any of them crying when the voices proudly claim the school has the “the fairest coeds.”

A fight song is a traditional piece based on an earlier pub drinking song, but no one equates it with beer pong.  The same goes for the words.  Being a “Utah man” is a concept, not a flesh and blood gender-specific human that wears a shirt instead of a blouse.

Sure, the words are dated.  Few of us “live upon the green”.  Then again, changing the words to “I am a Utah man, sir, I live in a condominium” doesn’t have quite the rah-rah ring to it.

Tradition, if it doesn’t harm people, is desirable.  At my university, one had to be a senior female to request campus housing in an old and dilapidated dorm building.  There were nicer, more modern dorms, but most seniors yearned for the older housing.  It was a sign they had “made it;” it was tradition.

Don’t change the fight song.  If someone wants to sing along and voice “Utah fan” instead of “Utah man”, so be it. No one will even notice.  Just buckle down, student, and hit the books. Leave the song Р and University of Utah tradition С alone!  Worry about something that really matters.


American writer James Agee stated, “You must be in tune with the times and prepared to break with tradition.” At one time or another, we’ve all had to tune up.  Being a slave to tradition doesn’t make sense, causes us to lose focus on important things, and blinds us to opportunities.

I faced this reality when my kids grew up.  Our Christmases were steeped in tradition, but they no longer made sense.  It was a relief when my daughter made a break with things and suggested a fun dinner out, ending with an evening watching “It’s a Wonderful Life.” It made things so much easier and reflects who we are as a family instead of who we used to be.

Changing the Utah fight song can be a time to celebrate the growth of the university and the reality of the demographics of the school.  Fall semester of 2013 found that nearly 45 percent of enrolled students were women.  Changing from “man” to “fan” is more inclusive.

Before anyone gets worked up over the tweaking of a tradition, while driving past Kaysville’s Davis High I noticed a prominently displayed sign on the building stating “Defending the Tradition.”   I’m not sure if any traditions are actually under attack at Davis so I fail to see what has to be defended, but I get their sentiment.  

However, when I went into the school I took note of the words to the DHS fight song hanging from the rafters of the gym.  The words “Against the Darts of Davis, none can progress” immediately jumped out. Back in the not-so-distant past the words to the song were “Against the MEN from Davis...”  Someone forgot to alert the tradition squad that something needed defending, or else a forward-thinking group realized that Darts come in both genders.

One tradition that I’m proud of is that my alma mater, Weber State University is “great, great, great”.  No gender bias or controversy there!  




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May 22, 2014
Hey Dawn hyphenated-whatever. How can the words of a song be exclusionary? Are there any students, Male or Female that have been excluded from opportunity because of the words of Utah Man? What about those enrolled at the U who are not "Fans" of the U? How will they be able to move forward with their education because the fight song is not inclusive of their identity? I feel bad that now the non-fans will have their education stunted because they were not properly identified in the song.
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