The University of North Alabama says it's considering changing the nickname of its marching band, known as the "Pride of Dixie." The university has formed a panel to discuss the nickname’s future after it was dropped during a recent football game against Alabama A&M, a historically black school. UNA Director of Bands Lloyd Jones said he made the change “out of respect for A&M’s mission and campus history,” according to a news release.
The panel charged with making recommendations will consist of 19 faculty, students, staff, and alumni.
"UNA has a reputation as a progressive institution, with a long history of successfully using collaborative leadership to address difficult social and cultural issues," said Dr. Ross Alexander, UNA vice president for Academic Affairs and Provost. "The University is proud of its musical heritage and the musical heritage of the Shoals--both of which are built around values of inclusion and respect."
Critics blasted the move, accusing the university of caving in to political correctness. In Arab, the school superintendent recently touched off a controversy by ordering an end to the long-running tradition of the marching band playing "Dixie" at high school football games.