|Criticisms of Rep. Earl Pomeroy
For his praise of Engelstad and avoidance of the Mascots and Logos Conference
Dear Rep. Pomeroy,
I am a member of the Campus Committee for Human Rights, and along with others planned and organized the Northern Plains Conference on Indian Mascots and Logos. This conference was held last week, Oct. 4-6 in Grand Forks. A number of topics associated with the logo/nickname such as legal issues, sportsmanship, religion, and education were presented during this 3-day conference. You were invited to attend, but said that you would be unable to be in Grand Forks on Friday, or any conference day previous to that.
I was amazed, then, to hear that you were able to be at the opening of the new ice hockey arena on Friday evening. However, I do realize that politicians are capable of "pulling strings" - often in very helpful ways to their constituents and sometimes in ways to receive personal benefit, rightly so, such as attending a hockey game. I also realize that the arena is one of the biggest 'things,' since the Depression, to hit ND so understand that our congress people would try to attend such an event.
What I don't understand is the gushing and glowing praise you heaped upon a person who has, with this "gift," bestowed a deep gulf among UND students, faculty, community members, and even families. This "gift" has so many conditions attached to it that it surely cannot be viewed as an act of philanthropy, but only as a monumental, opulent, self-aggrandizing edifice from a man whose "gift" has corrupted the mission of a university; this corruption has been welcomed with open arms by the state board of higher education and, thereby, UND administration. The embrace of this "beneficience" has also come from our state and national leaders.
Most importantly, your statement shows how little value you place on the expressed wishes of the Indian tribal councils throughout the state - and across the country. The continued use of Indians as athletic team nicknames and logos shows blind disregard for the American Indians in our state. People should not have to request, and request, and request to be treated with dignity, yet this continues to be the case. The logo overload in the arena and around this town is this "magnanimous" man's retalitory response to those people who wish to reclaim their respect and dignity and to those who support their claim.
A study of history
would surely be helpful! It would also be helpful to your
understanding of the issue of the nickname if you were to
visit campus for a few days and listen and look closely
at how the pro-logo faction "honors"
Margaret Zidon, Asst.
It is with deep concern that I read of Rep. Pomeroy's remarks regarding Engelstad Arena. I have been an ardent supporter of North Dakota's Congressional delegation and of Democratic candidates since my return to the state. However, that trust and support has been placed in serious jeopardy by the attitude of Rep. Pomeroy and his colleagues in regard to Mr. Engelstad and the arena donation.
It has always been my firm belief that the Democratic party and its leaders were committed to values related to diversity, understanding of minority positions, and support for minorities. The arena and Mr. Engelstad's actions in that regard stand for the complete opposite. They stand for the dominance of wealth and power over human rights and legitimate protest. Mr. Engelstad's threats and bullying tactics toward President Kupchella, the Board of Higher Education, and anyone who criticizes his actions and words speak loudly of might over right. Rep. Pomeroy's praise for Mr. Engelstad must be met by my statement of opposition and my belief that our representative has compromised his beliefs and his party's positions in exchange for his attempt to gain the friendship of the wealthy and powerful.
I would expect that our elected leaders would seek to promote the best interests of the University of North Dakota, particularly as they might claim alumni status and voice their special pride in the institution. It doesn't take much time or effort to realize that most of the property used by the educational programs at the University, with the notable exception of aerospace, are in dire need of renovation and/or replacement. Mr. Engelstad's promise of $50 million for educational priorities of the University seemed to be directed at such needs. That promise, voiced in various contexts by Earl Strinden, served to quiet some critics, only to be found empty as Mr. Engelstad found ever more luxurious and expensive furnishings for the arena. When the Legislature appropriates less than $4 million for a biennium in support of our plant needs, how can we justify our leaders supporting the expenditure of $100 million for a single sports facility. How can we justify placing such priority on this building, which will be used for its primary purpose for a couple of dozen nights per year, over the potential of a first-class facility for the school of medicine, which would be used for teaching and research virtually every day of the year? I realize that it is Mr. Engelstad's money and that he may choose to use it as he sees fit; I also realize that it is incumbent upon the leaders of this institution and this state to use their influence to direct such gifts to the priority needs.
This is a "lasting gift" all right -- a gift that will remind people for years to come that greed wins over compassion, that political power yields to economic might, that principles and values are for sale, and that it is more important to make friends with the wealthy than it is those one was elected to serve! I am greatly disappointed in how you and our other elected and other leaders have responded to this.
Gerald R. (Jerry) Bass