North Dakota’s State Board of Higher Education stepped up the deadline for the University of North Dakota to resolve the long-running dispute over its “Fighting Sioux” nickname today, voting unanimously to require the university to either drop the nickname or persuade two Sioux tribes to endorse its continuing use by this fall, the Grand Forks Herald reported.
The board initially approved a plan last fall that called for the university to either obtain the tribes’ approval or drop the nickname by 2010. That plan followed the university’s settlement of a lawsuit with the NCAA, which had rejected American Indian imagery in team nicknames, logos, and mascots that it deemed “abusive or hostile.”
The board’s action today would move the deadline to October 1, apparently because of the university’s eagerness to join a new athletic conference, the Summit League. According to the Herald, the league has told the university that it will not consider North Dakota for membership until the “Fighting Sioux” dispute is settled.
One of the two Sioux tribes in North Dakota, the Spirit Lake Sioux, has already voted to let the university keep the mascot, but the leaders of the other tribe oppose it. A vote by that tribe, the Standing Rock Sioux, has not yet been scheduled. —Andrew Mytelka