Thursday, August 20, 2015

Letter to the NCAA

To Whom it may Concern at the NCAA,

At the end of the 2011-2012 athletic season, the University of North Dakota dropped the name of 'Fighting Sioux' as per your request as you saw the name to be offensive and hostile. It was a tough one to swallow for athletes, fans, students, alumni, and faculty alike, however, the University has embraced just being the University of North Dakota for the past three athletic seasons and is currently undergoing the process to adopt a new name for the University.

After doing what you suggested the University should do, you recently take it one step too far by saying further sanctions 'could possibly' take place if the fans continue to cheer the name 'Sioux' at UND athletic events. Now we do understand that the school can be responsible for fans actions at events for saying disrespectful things and throwing things onto the playing surfaces. However, since when is embracing your school's history harmful or disrespectful?

When the Bill of Rights was created, the Founding Fathers made sure that the First Amendment was to protect the freedom of religion and expression. As it states, "First Amendment- Religion and Expression. Congress shall make NO LAW respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech...." By telling the University of North Dakota further sanctions and penalties "could" be given out to the UND athletics programs if the use of "Sioux" is continued by its fan is a clear violation of our First Amendment right.

You already won by UND dropping "Fighting Sioux" as the nickname of the University. Save your breath and save what dignity you already don't have and just give it a rest. There is absolutely nothing wrong with alumni, fans, students and faculty embracing the history of what was a huge part in what the University of North Dakota has had to offer over the last 80 plus years since originally adopting the nickname of "Fighting Sioux" and dropping it three years ago.

Yours Truly,
Zachary Hawkins

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