|Letter from Gregory F. Goekjian, Portland State University|
March 23, 2001
Mr. Charles E. Kupchella, President
University of North Dakota
P.O. Box 8193
Grand Forks, ND 58202
Dear Mr. Kupchella:
I have read with interest, and some dismay, Andrew Brownstein's article in the Chronicle of Higher Education concerning the name-change controversy at your university. Obviously, this is a matter that goes beyond simple disagreement: people are clearly offended and hurt by the current name, and the hurt is real--every time the name is used. This alone should be enough to persuade you to change the name.
However, the entry into the fray of Mr. Engelstad and his demands should be even more persuasive. The selling of universities to monied interests, whether for advertising purposes, political purposes, or simply egotistical ones, is becoming a scandal in American Academe. Mr. Engelstad seems to represent the worst in this respect. If you are not persuaded by the fact that the name "Fighting Sioux" causes genuine pain to many of your students, I believe you should be by the ignominy that would attach to acceding to Mr. Engelstad's demands. I urge you to do the right thing.
Gregory F. Goekjian
Professor and Director of Graduate Studies
Portland State University Department of English
Native Media Ctr.
Mary Frances Berry
U.S. Civil Rights Commission