Request to Convene the University Council

Thursday December 2, 1999

The past several days have demonstrated to all of us the depth of feeling associated with our athletic team nickname and various logos. None of this controversy is new. In 1972, all North Dakota universities were directed by the State Board of Higher Education to examine and make appropriate changes to Native American nicknames; the issue has been studied extensively in the intervening 28 years.

What is most striking about recent events is the anger being directed against Native American students, who--regardless of their stand on the nickname or logo--have been targeted as "the enemy" by other members of our university community. The result can be seen in the disrupted lives of our Native American students, who are struggling to finish the semester in an atmosphere that can best be described as hostile. It is clear to many of us that this kind of hostile atmosphere will continue to flare up at intervals, so long as we persist in using Native Peoples as team mascots. All of us--administrators, teachers, staff, and students--have a binding responsibility to provide a safe and respectful educational environment for every member of the UND community.

With this in mind, president Kupchella, I ask you to convene a meeting of the University Council, with the clear objective of developing a process by which the University of North Dakota can respectfully and gracefully retire the Fighting Sioux nickname and Indian Head logo, replacing them with a logo and nickname that will bring honor and pride to all North Dakotans. President Kupchella, will you convene the Council?

Scott Lowe
Gerald Bass