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LETTER: Springfest T-shirts can’t be linked with UND

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BISMARCK — I take issue with Ruth Hopkins’ column at the LastRealIndians.com website, “Siouxper Drunk shirts worn at UND’s Springfest.”

Springfest is neither put on nor sanctioned by the university. It is not held on university property; it is held in a public park.

The university neither sells tickets nor provides staff or security for the event.

Yet Hopkins calls on university faculty, staff, students, administrators and community members to take action. She says they should be embarrassed and ashamed.

I understand she feels strongly about this issue, but the truth is, we live in America. A few students exercised their right to free speech. It is completely irrelevant, but of the 10 young people pictured in the photo, only three attend UND, and those three now are getting death threats on their Twitter accounts.

Doesn’t it seem like this whole situation is getting out of hand?

In a Herald story, former Indian Studies Association President Emmy Scott said that her goal is to mandate sensitivity training for all incoming students and to have the now-retired Fighting Sioux logo banned from all academic settings.

UND can implement sensitivity training if administrators deem it necessary; but there’s no way the university can control what people wear.

We do not live in a Communist country, and until we do, I for one will defend anyone’s right to self-expression.

I have two young adults who have attended UND, and I am not ashamed of the university, its values or the education they received.

The logo has been retired. It’s over, and at this point, I think people need to stop being overly sensitive and start getting on with their lives. If they cannot and if they feel the environment is hostile, than I suggest they pursue their education elsewhere.

I do not spend my dollars at stores, attend events or vote for politicians who are in conflict with my values, so I’d suggest others exercise their right to do the same.

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