UND officials said they are “disgusted” by a vulgar T-shirt depicting a Native American and the university’s new Fighting Hawks logo in a sexual position.
The shirt’s graphic shows UND’s new Fighting Hawks logo with male genitalia and what appears to be a Native American in close proximity to the genitalia.
“We’re disgusted by the actions depicted in the image,” Peter Johnson, a UND spokesman, said Monday. “We’re disgusted by the fact that anybody would depict an individual representing a group of people in the way they were used in the image.”
The gold shirt with a green image was spotted by television cameras during North Dakota State University’s football game Saturday against Youngstown State.
Sadie Rudolph, a media relations coordinator at NDSU, said in an email the school takes these matters seriously and was not aware of the incident. The school is working to find out more information to determine how to appropriately proceed, she said.
“Audience members who are wearing obscene or indecent clothing are to be denied entry, or are asked to remove or cover such clothing,” Rudolph said. “At this time, we do not know how this occurred.”
Less than a month ago, NDSU President Dean Bresciani urged students to stop shouting a three-word chant with the words “Sioux suck” and an expletive after Bison first downs. Bresciani and other NDSU leaders wrote a letter to the campus community calling for an end to the chant.
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“We suspect people are continuing this chant out of a misplaced sense of tradition, and we are asking any who do so to re-evaluate their participation,” stated an email jointly signed by Bresciani, the student body president, the president of the faculty and staff senates and several other top administrators sent Oct. 14 to the campus community.
The “Sioux suck” tradition has deep roots at NDSU, according to previous Forum News Service reports. In 2002, university officials warned students before a football game against UND that anyone wearing shirts bearing the phrase would be asked to turn them inside out.
The Fighting Hawks nickname replaced UND’s longtime Fighting Sioux name, which was retired after the NCAA threatened sanctions.
UND unveiled its new logo to a crowd of supporters in June. The new graphic identity, designed by New York-based SME Inc., features a “determined hawk embedded in a Kelly green ND.”
Johnson said he is not sure where or how that shirt was produced, but the school works with its licensing partner to monitor the usage of its logo in order to protect its images.
“Obviously, anybody who would engage in that sort of T-shirt is not supportive of the university,” Johnson said.