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Fade out: UND's Kelley explains Fighting Sioux transition on campus

UND President Robert Kelley has sent a memorandum throughout the campus community about the ongoing transition away from the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo.

Robert Kelley

UND President Robert Kelley has sent a memorandum throughout the campus community about the ongoing transition away from the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo.

The memorandum, which recounts recent legislative action allowing the transition to proceed, also refers to a "frequently asked questions" posting on the university's nickname and logo web site, nickname.und.edu/logo .

Kelley wrote that he has "directed the Athletics Department and the Office of University Relations to initiate transition processes with the goal of substantially completing them by the end of December," as directed on Aug. 15 by the State Board of Higher Education.

"For example, you will see references to the nickname and the use of the logo disappearing from the UND web site, except where it makes sense to retain them for historical or similar reasons," Kelley wrote. "The university will also remove nickname images and verbiage from university-owned facilities, except for their use in historical or similar applications, such as championship banners."

Phasing out


He noted that the transition won't be entirely completed by Dec. 31.

"For example, the new uniforms for the UND men's hockey team won't be available until late February," he wrote. "As a result, the men's hockey team will finish the rest of the regular season in their current uniforms.

"Another example relates to our contracts with several vendors licensed to produce UND apparel and merchandise. Under the terms of the contracts, we must provide at least a 90-day notice of a change to the contract. That means licensed vendors will be allowed to produce apparel and merchandise with the Fighting Sioux name and logo through March 31, 2012, and will have until June 30, 2012, to sell off their stock.

"Retailers will be able to sell Fighting Sioux apparel and merchandise as long as supplies last, but there will be no more production of Fighting Sioux apparel and merchandise under existing licenses after March 31, 2012."

Kelley asked that all UND employees help with the transition.

"If you use the nickname and logo in your area, please take steps to remove their use," he wrote.

No ban on gear

In the FAQ posted on the nickname web site, Kelley said the transition "will not include any ban on wearing Fighting Sioux clothing at athletic events," but he asked that fans who do wear or display the nickname and logo to "do so in a manner that is respectful to American Indians."


The university anticipates "that fans will want to support our student athletes by wearing official team apparel," he said.

In response to another question, Kelley said UND has "no current plans to stop using the Ralph Engelstad Arena (REA) or the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center ("The Betty") for UND athletic events."

But for UND to host NCAA championship events at those facilities or the Alerus, "the facilities will have to comply with the terms of the NCAA settlement agreement," he said, noting that a link to information about the NCAA lawsuit and settlement from the state attorney general's office also is available at the university's nickname site.

Neither the Ralph nor the Betty are required to remove all uses of the nickname and logo, he said. "Under the settlement agreement, the facility can retain 'imagery of independent historical significance,' which includes things like championship banners, photographs, and trophies, the Sitting Bull tribute statue, and dedication plaques."

The 2007 settlement agreement "also allows the facility to retain imagery 'embedded in architecture,' meaning the granite logos in the floors of the REA."

Some REA features related to the nickname and logo "must be replaced in the course of ordinary wear and tear," and such things as carpeting, tile and seating would be replaced when required.

Kelley said the Alerus has agreed to remove Fighting Sioux logos there.

The law adopted during the November special session of the Legislature directs UND and the state board to wait until January 2015 to choose a new nickname or logo. Kelley said that would be preceded by "prominent public announcements about ... a careful and deliberate process.... Until then, the university's athletic teams will be called UND or 'North Dakota' and will use the current interlocking ND logo."


Reach Haga at (701) 780-1102; (800) 477-6572, ext. 102; or send email to chaga@gfherald.com .

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