VIDEO: ND House Decisively Defeats UND Nickname Moratorium Bill, 21-62


There were eleven members of the North Dakota House absent today as a flu bug sweeps through the state capitol, but that didn’t make the difference in HB1155 which was Rep. Scott Louser’s bill to extend a moratorium on the University of North Dakota nickname.

UND got rid of the Fighting Sioux nickname already, and is working toward picking a new nickname (or sticking with no nickname at all). Louser’s bill hoped to delay any new nickname, but a strong majority of lawmakers disagreed.

Rep. Corey Mock (a Democrat supposedly representing District 42, except he doesn’t live there any more) carried the bill on the floor and made the case for it’s defeat.

That the lack of a nickname is costing the university money. That the lack of a nickname is costing the university revenues. That it’s time to move on.

The idea that the lack of a nickname is costing UND money (outside of the absurd amount of money they’re spending on a transition committee) is kind of bunk, as I’ve pointed out before. As royalties? Rep. Mock describes a decline in revenues from merchandise sales, but what he’s pointing to is a decline from the surge in revenues which occurred as UND fans rushed to get their hands on the last available Sioux merchandise. As this report pointed out, royalties in the post-Sioux era are still above where they were prior to the nickname controversy:

In 2006, UND made $177,877 in royalties, a dollar figure which continued to climb over the years until it peaked in 2012, when the Fighting Sioux logo was retired, at $691,774.

A year later, royalties were down about 50 percent to $343,313 and while 2014’s fourth quarter figures aren’t available yet, royalties in total for the first three only add up to $174,390.

Still, I suspect the majority of lawmakers in the chamber wanted to just move on from this debate. Which is sad. When the agitators were fighting to be rid of the nickname, nobody ever told them to shut up and move on when they didn’t immediately get traction. But now that the anti-nickname activists have won, those who want to find some compromise going forward are asked to move on.

Particularly poignant during the floor debate was Rep. Rich Becker’s description of the lack of involvement of Native American’s in UND’s transition process. Pro-nickname activists from the Spirit Lake Reservation have been excluded and denied an opportunity to engage in the process, and the one Native American on UND’s committee told Rep. Becker that he hasn’t felt like he can express himself on the issue.

Which illustrates what is so galling for so many people on this issue. In the name of diversity of and inclusiveness dissenting opinions on the nickname, including those from Native Americans, have been steamrolled.