Sunday, July 20, 2014

Grand Forks Herald, 'UND moving gingerly toward a new nickname'



I would have commented on this story earlier, but I have been on vacation and I just finished up a project that I was working on.

So it begins. We knew that this day was coming. I am leery, and I am also worried that my favorite college teams are going to end up with a stupid nickname that none of us can really embrace. My head is going to explode "if" UND becomes the Sun Dogs.
Anna Burleson, Grand Forks Herald -- UND is allowed by law to pick a new moniker after January 2015, but after several racially charged incidents on campus, President Robert Kelley has been pressured to take concrete steps and move away from the Fighting Sioux nickname.

“In the minds of many, many people it’s still an issue, it’s still problematic, and I understand that,” Kelley said in May. “I’m not blind to it and I get it. But it is retired officially, so now we’ve got the next step.”

This next step will mean consulting with stakeholders — students, children, residents, faculty, staff and alumni — and laying out the steps the university will take in picking a new nickname.

“We don’t have a process yet but what we’re doing is preparing to create a process,” UND spokesman Peter Johnson said.
I also don’t know if the legislature will be able to extend the deadline to 2017, that will be a story all by itself. If UND can’t be the Fighting Sioux, which they can't, I would rather have no nickname at all. The past season, having no nickname, at all, kind of grew on me. I do like the fact the alumni are going to be part of the process in picking the new nickname. Now, lets just hope the right alumni are selected.

4 comments:

  1. They can pick a nickname but the Fight Sioux jerseys, t-shirts, etc. aren't going anywhere any time soon...new nickname or not. I think they should just stay North Dakota.

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    1. I agree, I just got a sweet Fighting Sioux jersey this week as well.

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  2. They have to consult the alumni. To not do so would be catastrophic and end up costing UND a lot of money. Case in point: Marquette University in Milwaukee. They used to be the Golden Warriors or something to that effect. They decided to change the nickname so they did... without consulting the students or alumni, they became the Marquette Gold. The loss of money by alumni and the ill will generated by the unrest of the student body quickly forced Marquette to change their nickname. I have no idea how much it cost Marquette for their gaff, but they learned quickly to rely upon students and alumni in such decisions.

    I think a new nickname is inevitable and, at least for the short term after its initiation, regardless of what the nickname will be, there will be a lot of upset fans, students, and alumni. Kelley is in a really bad position in this deal, to be fair.

    I believe there is really only one rule they need to follow when it comes to nickname selection: Do not give those who fought for the nickname's retirement ANY leverage towards the new nickname. They were not fighting for a new nickname, they fought for the end of the previous one. Their role in this affair is at an end. They, like the Fighting Sioux nickname, should be relegated to the annals of history. Of course, if any of those who fought are alumni or current students, they're welcome to chime in on a new nickname with the same "power" and leverage of any other alumni or student, but their ideas shouldn't be given ANY more weight than my opinion or Eric's or John Q. Alumni's.

    The worst thing you can give an activist with an agenda is power. This isn't racial equality. The nickname really has no effect on admission standards or the "plight" of the Native American (no matter what those activists say. It's merely a power trip to push towards a form of legacy... changing for the sake of making a change). If the activist was fighting towards empowering Native Americans towards completing high school and obtaining admission to UND, that's one thing. This is another. The nickname is gone and the role of these activists have come to a close.

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    1. It won't let me edit... oh well.

      To clarify: I said at one point that the activists should get no leverage and no ability to contribute to a new nickname and then I countermanded my own opinion. With editting, I would point out that they can propose a new nickname, that's fine. They can vote on any nickname choices put forth for a vote. That's fine too. But their vote counts the same as my vote and their opinion counts the same as my own. Their stance of power, perceived or otherwise, is over.

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