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Kelley to campus: Let's look ahead, write next chapter

UND President Robert Kelley posted a message to the "campus community" Tuesday regarding recent actions pointing toward retirement of the Fighting Sioux nickname, urging all to look ahead and contribute to "writing the next chapter" in the univer...

Sen. David Hogue, Grant Shaft and Robert Kelley arrive in Indianapolis for NCAA meeting
Sen. David Hogue, left, State Board of Higher Education president Grant Shaft, center, and University of North Dakota president Robert Kelley arrive at the NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis, Friday, Aug. 12, 2011. Kelley and four state leaders had a meeting at the NCAA headquarters to make their case for keeping the Fighting Sioux nickname. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

UND President Robert Kelley posted a message to the "campus community" Tuesday regarding recent actions pointing toward retirement of the Fighting Sioux nickname, urging all to look ahead and contribute to "writing the next chapter" in the university's history.

Following Friday's meeting of state leaders and NCAA officials in Indianapolis, at which the NCAA stood firm on its policy against the use of Native American names and imagery by member schools, the State Board of Higher Education on Monday directed Kelley to resume its transition away from the Fighting Sioux name and Indian-head logo.

"As you may know, our university had been directed by the State Board of Higher Education to retire the nickname and logo of our athletic programs by Aug. 15, 2011," Kelley said in his statement. "The transition was proceeding when the Legislature passed a bill requiring UND to retain the name and logo. After the governor signed that bill into law, the state board directed me to suspend any further activities associated with its retirement."

Monday's unanimous vote by the state board directed Kelley to have the transition revived and "substantially completed" by the end of the year.

"The controversy surrounding the name and logo cannot be permitted to deter us from our core missions of teaching and learning, research and service," Kelley said.

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"We begin the 2011-2012 academic year as strong as our university has ever been. Our talented and dedicated faculty and staff, supported by our committed alumni and friends, will sustain the momentum that has been generated in recent months around the 'Exceptional UND' initiatives that can establish our position as a world-class institution of higher education.

"I know that each of us will do all we can to contribute to the success of all of us. Our university has a long and distinguished history and tradition, and we all play important roles in writing the next chapter."

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