Obscene clothing still being worn at sporting events

President Kupchella:

I've just returned from what should have been an enjoyable football game. As an NDSU alumnus and UND faculty member, I had the misfortune to be seated next to the boisterous NDSU student fans. Ordinarily, I would have joined them in cheering on the team, but today when I saw the obnoxious t-shirts they were wearing, I was sickened. Even when I was a NDSU football cheerleader some 20 years ago, I did not approve of them, but now being an UND faculty member with Native Americans among my friends, colleagues and students, I am especially disgusted. This is not to say that NDSU students, however, are any different from UND students; I don't know if any of "our" students were wearing the same kind of disgusting t-shirts because I was seated near them.

If you permit me to be graphic, for I know of no other way to describe the t-shirts, but there were two that were especially despicable: "Sioux Suck" and "Spank the Sioux". The former depicted a caricature of a "Sioux brave" engaged in oral sex with a bison while the later displayed a caricature of a bison engaged in anal sex with a caricature of a "Sioux brave". A few had been turned inside out; obviously some of the event staff had requested their wearers to do so before gaining admission. I saw a few others promptly turn their t-shirts right side out upon being seated in the student section. One time an event staff person requested the wearer of such a t-shirt to turn it inside out, but the staff person was met with a round of boos and shouts of first amendment rights.

Obviously, students have first amendment rights to make an ass of themselves by wearing disgusting and disrespectful t-shirts. I don't think the University wants to engage in a court case over civil rights. If the University cannot prevent students from such behavior, then what can it do? Perhaps a massive, ongoing indoctrination campaign -- may we say brainwashing --in civility, politeness, respect, honor, etc? I have not seen any indication that the University wants to do such, nor am I convinced that the students would tolerate it.

So what else may be done? Of course, the University could just ignore these displays of truly tasteless behavior, and hope that those who are offended by such behavior might not take offense. That is what the University has done historically. I don't think, however, that those of us who find such behavior offensive are going to tolerate it. Nor will our Native American students, faculty and alumni tolerate it.

The only alternative is to CHANGE THE NAME AND LOGO. The mere presence of the Sioux name and logo gives permission for our and other students, not to mention alumni, to wear such despicable t-shirts and for business
to make them.

Curtis Stofferahn
Associate Professor
University of North Dakota