Glassheim calls Fighting Sioux nickname vote legislative 'overreaching'Rep. Eliot Glassheim, D-Grand Forks, said the N.D. House bill that passed Monday to keep UND's Fighting Sioux nickname and logo "is another example of the contagious disease of overreaching that seems to afflict this legislature."
By: Herald Staff Report, Grand Forks Herald
Rep. Eliot Glassheim, D-Grand Forks, voted in the minority Monday when the North Dakota House voted 65-28 for a bill mandating that UND retain its Fighting Sioux nickname and logo.
Here are excerpts from Glassheim’s remarks during floor debate:
“This bill is another example of the contagious disease of overreaching that seems to afflict this legislature. We are telling the Attorney General what to do, ignoring the fact that he is elected statewide and his trained legal opinion is that the bill is unconstitutional. We are telling the Board of Higher Education what to do, even though the direction of the higher ed system is constitutionally given to the Board. We are trying to tell the government of Standing Rock what to do. We are telling the NCAA what to do. The legislature is ordering the deliberate violation of the terms of a contract entered into by the state of North Dakota. We are putting in state law a mandate to tell UND what to call itself and its teams.
“I can tell you that, though many people in Grand Forks love the name and logo and wish we could keep it, the dominant feeling there is that we do not want two more years of legal battles; we do not want a divided campus; we do not want time, energy and money that should be focused on education to be wasted in hostile wrangling over the logo; we do not want to risk other teams refusing to play us in minor sports because their administrations do not want to police their students’ potentially insulting chants; we do not want to risk the loss of reputation nationally our universities have so carefully built up over the past two decades; we do not want to risk even a 10% reduction in recruitment of top notch athletes, students or faculty.
“We almost lost two university presidents over this issue. We do not want to paralyze a third. We do not want the help of this legislature in embroiling UND in further turmoil over an image and a name.
“I certainly wish we could keep the name and logo. They are strong and meaningful. I have heard the sincerity in the voices of non-natives who love the name and logo. I have heard the sense of being honored spoken by many native Americans. But we cannot keep the name and logo without dooming the University of North Dakota to never ending controversy. At the end of the day, my duty, my responsibility, is to vote for what will strengthen UND in the long run. I hope you see your duty that way as well.”