Everyone in North Dakota knows all about the soap opera surrounding the University of North Dakota’s former Fighting Sioux logo and nickname. They know that most North Dakotans (including most actual Sioux Indians on at least one reservation in the state) support the logo and nickname, and that it was the NCAA meddling at the behest of a small and perpetually outraged minority that forced them into retirement.
And that minority apparently won’t be satisfied until we’re not even allowed to talk about the issue.
Recently a sorority at the University of North Dakota was reprimanded by UND President Robert Kelley for flying a banner that referenced the nickname controversy during the NCAA’s Frozen Four tournament. The banner didn’t show the logo, or mention the nickname, but merely mentioned the fact that there used to be a logo and nickname.
The sorority agreed to undergo sensitivity training.
Now a member of UND’s student government has introduced a bill to prohibit members of the student government from even talking about the logo or nickname in a supportive fashion.
Kyle Thorson, who is also a Democrat candidate for the state House in District 43,
introduced a bill to censure Student Body President Nick Creamer for using the hashtag #fightingsiouxforever on Twitter CORRECTION: Thorson did not introduce the bill to censure Creamer, another member of the student Senate did and another that would require, among other things, sensitivity training for student government and a prohibition supporting the Sioux logo and nickname.
Here’s the censorship language from the latter bill:
Therefore, be it further resolved that we as members of the Student Government –the Senate, the Executive team, and all other associated branches of government—in order to support our Native American students will make no public statement that could be interpreted as continuation of or desire to bring back the retired logo,
That’s…a little chilling.
This member of the student government wants to restrict the expression of opinions he finds objectionable.
Regardless of where you come down on the issue of Native American mascots and nicknames, the idea that people not even be allowed to express a dissenting point of view is pretty odious. And while we could write this off as the antics of a campus politician, remember that this kid wants to be a lawmaker serving in the House chamber in Bismarck voting on laws for the entire state.
Update: I mistakenly wrote above that Thorson introduced legislation to censure Creamer. That wasn’t correct, that bill was introduced by another student. Thorson did introduce the bill to censors support for the logo and nickname.