Dixie State University: School Rejects Student Group Because Its Name Includes Greek Letters

Category: Free Speech
Schools: Dixie State University

Beginning in November 2012, Dixie State University student Indigo Klabanoff contacted school administrators to discuss the possibility of forming a sorority on campus. Over the course of several months, Klabanoff was repeatedly told that the university would not recognize a sorority or any club identified by Greek letters because of concerns about Dixie State’s “party school” image. In July 2013, after submitting a formal application for recognition, she was told by Director of Student Involvement & Leadership Jordon Sharp that “the name Phi Beta Pi will not be approved.” Sharp also explained that the Inter Club Council’s (ICC’s) bylaws had been retroactively revised to prohibit clubs from using “the Greek alphabet in their club name.” In response to multiple letters from FIRE, Utah Assistant Attorney General D. Michael Carter has defended Dixie State’s unconstitutional policy by claiming it serves a “compelling interest,” and claimed that alcohol, hazing, and other policy violations by fraternities and sororities at other universities justified Dixie State’s actions against Phi Beta Pi.

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    by Dallas Hyland OPINION – My friend, Cole Hulse, posted on his Facebook: “Behold, the only time Dixie will ever be in a Top Ten list with Harvard,” referring to a report published by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, simultaneously published with The Huffington Post College Blog, naming The 10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech. Dixie State University achieved an ignoble notable No. 4 spot on the list. And so I ask, is this who you want to be DSU? At the heart of FIRE’s ranking is the current and ongoing fight university senior Indigo Klabanoff is engaged in to be allowed her […]

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  • Sorority plans

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  • Phi Beta Pi Continues To Fight

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      by Emily Bills As Phi Beta Pi is caught in a whirlwind of national controversy surrounding Dixie State University, its leaders strive to keep on keeping on. Although the club is still under restraints by DSU administration to deny Greek letters in its name, President Indigo Klabanoff, a senior communication major from Boston, said all the national recognition means the club’s hard work has paid off. Members of DSU administration have been actively battling against the decision to charter a club or sorority with Greek letters. Past students reached out to Dean of Students Del Beatty in 2009 and requested support […]

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    by Casie Forbes ST. GEORGE – Dixie State University officials are not wavering from their decision to deny an attempt to establish a Greek life system on campus, but a DSU student refuses to accept the institution’s decision. Earlier this year, DSU administrators denied an application to approve a sorority club using the Greek letters Phi Beta Pi founded by DSU student Indigo Klabanoff, stating the club would not coincide with the institution’s mission. Administrators also voiced concerns that a Greek life program would hinder efforts to eliminate its “party school” reputation as it rebrands itself as a university. Wednesday, DSU […]

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  • Greek Suppression at Dixie State

    October 31, 2013

    by Susan Kruth For over a year, Dixie State University senior Indigo Klabanoff has been fighting to start a local sorority at her public Utah university. The sorority would be dedicated to providing services for the community and learning opportunities for its members. But Dixie State administrators have flatly stated that Indigo’s sorority, Phi Beta Pi, will not be approved as an officially recognized student group so long as it has Greek letters in its name. According to the administration, the school has no objection to the group’s mission or activities, but the university nevertheless went so far as to retroactively amend the student […]

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  • Dixie State University Refuses to Allow Greek Letter Groups on Campus for Fear of Being Labeled a ‘Party School’

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    by Russell Westerholm A public college in Utah will not officially recognize any groups with Greek letters in its name to avoid any chance of being labeled “a party school,” but that ban may infringe on a very basic right any student has. Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) president Greg Lukianoff wrote in a blog post on the Huffington Post that Dixie State University that a student is continually being denied in starting a sorority on campus simply because of the school’s policy. Indigo Klabanoff, a senior at Dixie and founder of Phi Beta Pi noted that school recognized clubs that promote partying, such […]

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    by Greg Lukianoff at The Huffington Post

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    by Lindsay Whitehurst Becoming a university means more than a new name, revamped logo and enhanced prestige. For the Dixie State University, it also means divergent voices on campus, including a former newspaper sex columnist and a would-be sorority sister. Indigo Klabanoff is a Boston transplant and a 22-year-old communication major who decided she wanted to start a sorority last November. “I’ve always liked the idea. … You learn wonderful things about how to network, leadership skills and getting out into the community,” she said. And though she changed her goal from a nationally chartered chapter to a school club, she […]

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  • DSU teaches wrong lesson on free speech

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  • Dixie State’s Refusal to Recognize First Amendment Gains More Attention

    January 16, 2014

    Last week, a new semester began at Dixie State University, and while the classes may have changed, the school’s refusal to uphold its students’ First Amendment rights to free expression and free association remains the same. After senior Indigo Klabanoff re-applied for official recognition for her student group, Phi Beta Pi, FIRE wrote a third letter to the school on December 18 explaining—again—why Dixie State cannot ban Greek letters in club names just to avoid a “party school” image. We sent the letter to Dixie State’s trustees, as well as the Board of Regents of the Utah System of Higher Education. Disappointingly, Indigo’s group was denied […]

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  • Dixie State Dean Relies on Attorney General’s Incorrect Legal Analysis

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    Despite continuing pressure on Dixie State University administrators to acknowledge and uphold students’ First Amendment rights to free expression and freedom of association, Dixie State has reiterated its refusal to officially recognize student group Phi Beta Pi because the group name has Greek letters in it. According to the Dixie Sun News student newspaper, Dean of Students Del Beatty won’t budge on the issue: “Beatty said the attorney general told [the administrators] there is no problem and urges DSU to ignore the media’s pressure because there is no valid case.” Let’s take a closer look at the language Beatty is relying on. Utah Assistant Attorney […]

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  • Dixie State Students For Liberty Collect Over 200 Signatures Supporting Phi Beta Pi

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  • Dixie State Admins Make Conflicting Statements and Impossible Requests

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    For months, Dixie State University administrators have repeatedly told student Indigo Klabanoff that her student group, Phi Beta Pi, could not be officially recognized by the school because its name includes Greek letters. Since FIRE issued a press release about the situation last week, Dixie State administrators have been scrambling to justify their actions—one making impossible demands of Phi Beta Pi and the other backpedaling with respect to what exactly Phi Beta Pi needs to do to be recognized. Dean of Students Del Beatty has said publicly that members of Phi Beta Pi should simply go to a school with Greek life instead of Dixie State. […]

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  • Dixie State Dean of Students Continues Throwing Spaghetti at the Wall

    October 31, 2013

    Yesterday, FIRE released a new video on Dixie State University student Indigo Klabanoff’s push against the university after it denied recognition to her student organization because there are Greek letters (Phi Beta Pi) in its name. Dixie State administrators repeatedly told Klabanoff that campus clubs may not have Greek letters in their names because they would convey the image of a “party school.” Dixie State must be feeling the heat, because according to Utah’s Deseret News, Dean of Students Del Beatty is now claiming that the university has refused to recognize Phi Beta Pi because its name raises trademark and confusion issues. I guess Dixie […]

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  • Dixie State University Bans an Alphabet, Tells Women They Can’t Use Greek Letters in Club Name

    October 30, 2013

    Nineteen female Dixie State University students are being forced to fight their own school for the right to use Greek letters in the name of their organization. Indigo Klabanoff and the members of Phi Beta Pi have repeatedly been denied official recognition because administrators feel that the use of Greek letters in an organization name will give Dixie State a “party school” image.

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  • Dixie State Rejects Sorority Because Its Name Includes Greek Letters

    August 27, 2013

    For nearly a year, Dixie State University senior Indigo Klabanoff has been working to start a local sorority at her public Utah university that would be dedicated to providing services for the community and learning opportunities for its members. Dixie State administrators have flatly stated that Klabanoff’s sorority, Phi Beta Pi, will not be approved as an officially recognized student group as long as it has Greek letters in its name. The college went so far as to retroactively amend the school’s student club bylaws to prohibit such groups from recognition. Last week, FIRE sent a letter urging Dixie State […]

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