Statement from UND President Robert Kelley on Nickname and Logo
Dear Campus Community:
In keeping with state law and at the direction of North Dakota State Board of Higher Education President Grant Shaft, the University of North Dakota has resumed the use of the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo for our athletic teams. This action is necessary based on the filing of petitions Tuesday night with the Office of the North Dakota Secretary of State. The filing of the petitions suspends the law, passed during the November Special Session of the North Dakota Legislature, which repealed the law passed last spring stipulating that the University of North Dakota continue to use the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo. If the petitions are certified by the Office of the North Dakota Secretary of State, the referendum on whether to repeal the law passed in November will be decided during the June Primary election.
This has been, and continues to be, a difficult issue for the campus community, affecting students, faculty and staff. As we move forward, we all have a responsibility to respect all members of the University Community, and to be particularly cognizant of American Indian students, faculty and staff, who often are inappropriately identified as spokespersons by the media and sometimes within the classroom and in social settings. Such actions especially can make it difficult for students to focus on their academic responsibilities and can be detrimental to the students' ongoing success.
The University will continue to work with the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education and other stakeholders on this issue. Our primary obligation is the welfare of our students and our academic mission of providing exceptional teaching and learning; research, scholarship, and creative activity; and service and engagement.
Together, we will continue to move forward.
Robert O. Kelley