I was traveling yesterday so a little slow on the news that UND alumnus William Brotherton, an attorney these days in Texas, has filed a lawsuit against UND to halt the nickname vote which will begin next week.

You can read the complaint, affidavits, and exhibits filed by Brotherton below. Already seven judges have recused themselves in the matter, no doubt because a lot of the judges in this state are graduates of the UND law school.

Anyway, there’s a lot to digest below, but the complaint breaks down into some main points.

  1. That the University of North Dakota does not have the authority to change the nickname without the Legislature, or at least the State Board of Higher Education, approving it.
  2. UND denied the plaintiffs equal protection by holding a vote not in keeping with UND/SBHE policies
  3. UND broke open meetings laws in the nickname transition process.
  4. UND violated a contract with the Spirit Lake Sioux in retiring the “Fighting Sioux” nickname

That’s what I pulled from the filing, though I’m no legal expert.

The plaintiffs are:

  • Rep. Rich Becker, a Republican lawmaker from Grand Forks
  • Lavonne Albers, a enrolled member of the Spirit Lake Sioux tribe and the granddaughter of Alvina Alberts who participated in the pipe ceremony granting UND the “Fighting Sioux” nickname.
  • William LeCaine Sr., a former UND hockey player who 15 years playing in the NHL. He was the among the first Native American players in the NHL, and the first Native American hockey player from UND to play in the NHL

Meanwhile, UND says they’ll plow ahead with their vote. “The university intends to move forward with the nickname vote as planned beginning on Oct. 19 unless otherwise directed by the courts,” UND spokesman Peter Johnson told the Grand Forks Herald.