You can now be either a Utah man or a Utah fan while singing the “Utah Man” fight song after U President David Pershing approved changes to the lyrics Wednesday, July 2.
Three changes will appear in the official 2014 version of the song, which were presented to Pershing after months of review by a panel.
The phrase “Utah man” will now read “Utah man/fan” throughout the first stanza and in the chorus of the song. Barb Snyder, vice president for Student Affairs, said this lyric changed as a compromise.
“We wanted to provide an opportunity for individuals who felt excluded from singing the lyrics because they were uncomfortable,” Snyder said. “We wanted to provide for them a way to feel included as part of our university community.”
Since both “man” and “fan” will appear in the official fight song, Snyder said students can pick which “alternative lyric” they sing.
“We also recognize that there’s a great deal of passion around the phrase ‘Utah man,’” she said. “We wanted to give those individuals who feel connected to that the opportunity to continue to sing it.”
The lyric “our coeds are the fairest” was also changed and will now say “our students are the finest.” Those on the panel felt the original line could be read as belittling to female students. “Fairest” also potentially refers to a preference for lighter skin color. The lyric originally read, “we drink our stein of lager and we smoke our big cigars” but was changed in 1942.
Pershing said in an official statement, “The lyrics sung today are not identical to those sung in 1914 and are not likely to remain unaltered in the century to come.”
The last change approved by Pershing modifies the line “no other gang of college men” to “no rival band of college fans.”
The origin of the “Utah Man” fight song dates as far back as 1885 with connections to a fraternity song. The song recently came under fire on April 22 when members of ASUU voted 21-15 in the House and 7-3 in the Senate to change the lyrics to be more inclusive.
After the ASUU vote, an 8-person review panel comprised of students, faculty and alumni reviewed more than 1,300 emails that students sent in regarding the changes. The panel took those concerns into consideration and presented the three revisions to Pershing, who approved the newest version of the song. He hopes students will sing the words they feel comfortable with.
“Historical renditions of the song will always be acceptable,” Pershing said. “We encourage you to sing — loudly and with pride — whichever version resonates with you.”