The controversy over a University of North Daktoa sorority hanging a banner critical of the NCAA’s push to rid the university of the Fighting Sioux nickname isn’t the only imbroglio on that campus this week. Student Body President Nick Creamer came under fire on social media (see the #fundthefeed hashtag on Twitter) for vetoing a request for an additional $4,000 to fund a buffalo feed at a powwow that coincides with a week of events by Native American students and organizations.
The student government had already appropriated $20,000 in student fees to the event – $12,000 more than the $8,000 cap for such events – and Creamer, who appeared on Chris Berg’s show to explain the situation, felt the additional request was excessive.
Many, judging by the postings on social media, feel Creamer did it because he’s a dirty, dirty racist. As evidence, Creamer’s critics point to a tweet he posted around the time of his veto decision using the hashtag #FightingSiouxForever.
Of course, the hockey team formerly known as the Fighting Sioux are in the Frozen Four this week, and Creamer’s tweet had more to do with that than his veto. But those facts don’t seem to matter.
At one moment during Creamer’s interview with Berg he’s asked if, given the vicious social media reaction, he feels scared to express school pride or make other postings to social media. Creamer admitted that he was.
In these reactions at UND we see how far the lack of respect for dissent and opposing views has fallen. It seems many are no longer content to merely disagree, but must instead for veritable lynch mobs to wound those with whom they disagree.
That’s a dangerous trend.
Again, some of the loudest proponents of the Fighting Sioux logo and nickname were, and still are, Sioux Indians from the Spirit Lake Reservation who filed a lawsuit against the NCAA to keep the name. Given that, one can hardly classify support and use for the logo/nickname to be inherently racist. And suggesting that Creamer’s veto was racist, and not based on his view of sound fiscal stewardship of student fee dollars, is unfounded and unfair.
But many have been trained to believe that any disagreement over issues that touch on race in any way must be informed by racism. We see that now at UND, and it doesn’t reflect positively on the Native American activists who are behind this behavior.