A ballot question whether to reinstate the “Redmen” name at Cedar High School in Cedar City will not appear on the general election ballot this fall.

The Iron County School District Board of Education voted last month to allow voters to consider whether to restore the historic moniker but the district’s legal counsel has since advised administrators that the matter “is not referable to the public.”

In an email to Iron County School District Superintendent Lance Hatch, attorney Scott Garrett wrote: “The decision of whether or not to reinstate the Redmen name is not a proposed or passed law (legislative act) but rather an administrative act by a legislative body. It is therefore not referable to the public. It is my opinion that the Iron County School District will not be able to place this on the ballot for general consideration by the public.”

Garrett said the matter could be placed before voters by initiative or referendum, which requires collecting a sufficient number of certified signatures.

Recently, three members of the school board — Jeff Corry, Dave Staheli and Lauren Lewis — introduced a proposal to the board to consider reinstating the “Redmen” moniker.

Five years ago, the school board voted 3-2 to retire the school’s “Redmen” name, which was adopted in the 1940s.

Some elected officials such as Iron County Commissioner Paul Cozzens took issue with the board’s process used to consider whether to retire the “Redmen” name.

Cozzens said there was overwhelming support for the “Redmen” mascot at three public forums conducted prior to the school board’s vote in 2019.

A committee of students, teachers and tribal members voted 17-7, recommending that the mascot be changed. Following the school board vote calling for change, Cedar High School adopted a wolf as its mascot and “The Red” moniker, rebranding the school’s signage and uniforms.

Cozzens said the lingering community division is less about the mascot but “fighting against the cancel culture.”

Recently, the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah has formally requested that the district not reinstate the “Redmen” name. The tribe’s cultural resource manager told the school board that the words “redskin” and “redman” have been historically used to degrade and dehumanize Native Americans.

The school board met in a work session earlier this week to determine its next steps.

The board discussed other options such as hiring a public opinion and research firm to conduct a poll of Iron County residents.

“Their goal would be to get responses from approximately 500 residents of the county that would be randomly selected and however they do their work, to make it scientific and representative,” said board member Staheli.

Another option would be for the school board to conduct its own election among constituents, which the Nebo School District Board of Education did two decades ago with a nonbinding vote whether Springville High School’s mascot, the Red Devil, should be retired.

According to a Deseret News report at the time, the devil mascot came from Red Devil cement used in the foundation of an old high school that has long since been razed. Opponents objected to the continuing use of horns, a pointed tail and devil themes at high school events, which they say is satanic.

Voters in the area voted to keep the Red Devil mascot.

“There was quite a bit of division during the time, a lot of discussion,” Staheli said.

Afterward, “everything settled in the community and people accepted the result of the election of that vote,” he said.

Some board members questioned if a vote to restore the “Redmen” name would bring the community together, particularly when the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah has formally lodged its objections.

The board will resume its discussion about its next steps at its next regular meeting on April 23.