Higher ed officials to meet with tribal leaders
BISMARCK - State Board of Higher Education President John Paulsen said Monday that he and university system Chancellor William Goetz likely will meet face to face with some of North Dakota's Sioux tribal leaders before organizing a delegation to ...
BISMARCK - State Board of Higher Education President John Paulsen said Monday that he and university system Chancellor William Goetz likely will meet face to face with some of North Dakota's Sioux tribal leaders before organizing a delegation to go to the tribes to discuss UND's Fighting Sioux nickname.
Goetz described the meetings as a chance to "communicate quietly and check signals before proceeding." He said he had not discussed the plans in detail with Paulsen and no timeline had been set.
The terms of a settlement agreement in a lawsuit with the NCAA state UND must retire its nickname in three years if it cannot win approval from tribal leaders at both of the state's Sioux reservations.
Since that settlement was announced in late September, Standing Rock Tribal Chairman Ron His Horse Is Thunder and other tribal leaders have spoken out harshly against the nickname.
The Standing Rock Tribal Council also voted to reaffirm its 2001 resolution officially opposing the nickname.
That tribal opposition prompted Paulsen to consider whether sending a delegation to discuss the nickname's future would actually be productive, a proposal that was not popular with other state board members.
Paulsen said Monday that he would not bring the question of forming or not forming a delegation to the state board until he and Goetz had a chance to speak face to face with tribe members.
He said the nickname would not be discussed at a meeting of the state Legislature's interim committee on higher education today or at a state board meeting Wednesday in Dickinson, N.D., where the board will appoint a new president of Dickinson State University.
UND sued the NCAA in 2006 over a 2005 mandate that referred to American Indian team nicknames as hostile and abusive and barred the school from displaying its Fighting Sioux nickname and logo in postseason play or hosting playoff games.
Marks reports on higher education. Reach him at (701) 780-1105; (800) 477-6572, ext. 105; or firstname.lastname@example.org .