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Harry Reid's Alma Mater Strips His Name from Building

Image: Harry Reid's Alma Mater Strips His Name from Building (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters/Landov)

By Sandy Fitzgerald   |   Friday, 29 Aug 2014 04:31 PM

Southern Utah University, where Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid went to school, is stripping his name from one of its buildings after the city where the college is located got $40,000 in pledges in five days from people who wanted his name to come down. 

The Nevada Democrat's name had been put on the Southern Utah University Outdoor Engagement Center to honor the school's famous alumnus, President Scott Wyatt told The Spectrum newspaper.

Not long after, concerned citizens started meeting with Wyatt, calling for Reid's name to be taken down, and Cedar City Councilman Paul Cozzens said he another others were willing to donate money if the name came down.

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Wyatt said he didn't want to do that and risk insulting Reid, who he believes is due more respect.

Cozzens said he received the $40,000 in pledges, but Wyatt said that as Reid is an alumnus, "he was gracious enough to grant the university the use of his name, and I didn't want to offend him in any way."

So the college president came up with a solution. Reid's name is coming down at the Outdoor Engagement Center but will remain on campus on another building, which does not yet exist.

"We have not received any money yet for that building, so if that happens then it will give us an opportunity to build a Harry Reid Center and to clearly define the purpose of that center," Wyatt said.

Reid's name also was not bringing in any donations, said Wyatt.

"They thought there would be substantial donations from Harry Reid's friends," Wyatt said. "But there has never been any money donated for that purpose."

In addition, Wyatt said that Reid's name has never been associated with the outdoors, so the name was confusing for many people and college staff trying to create "a clear brand."

A new Harry Reid Center will be built if donations come in, Wyatt said, as the Senate leader "has a lot of good qualities that could be used to develop a great program and center."

Cozzens said he is concerned Reid's name may still get used, but he's happy it's going away for now. He claimed he was approached by people in Nevada who would not support the university if Reid's name goes back up.

"This is a conservative base in Southern Utah and many people in southern Nevada also feel the same way," Cozzens said. "These people in Nevada do not espouse to Reid's political philosophies, and they told me they would not support the university or send any more of their children there, and this was coming from people who had already sent children to SUU, so long as Harry Reid's name remained."

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