In an email sent out to the University of North Dakota campus early this morning, UND President Robert Kelley has announced that he’ll consider including the plain old “North Dakota” nickname in an upcoming vote.
“Many different opinions have been expressed, and they have come from many sources,” he states in the email which you can read in full below. “Over the next few weeks I plan to further review all the feedback received, and I will consider the possible addition of ‘North Dakota’ in the voting process.”
Previously the committee appointed to handle UND’s transition to a new nickname after the controversial “Fighting Sioux” name was retired had axed “North Dakota” as an option. That prompted a lot of derision, even from some who opposed the “Fighting Sioux” nickname, as well as protests scheduled for campus.
I’m honestly surprised at the move. There’s no question that eliminating “North Dakota” as an option going forward alienated a lot of people, but with Kelley set to retire next year anyway what does he have to lose at this point?
I can’t imagine the amount of pressure from alumni and donors, etc., etc. which Kelley – who has been intractable when it comes to giving “Fighting Sioux” nickname supporters even a smidgen of what they want – was under to make him change his mind.
Here’s the full email: