Earlier this month I wrote a post about the University of North Dakota’s nickname transition process away from the controversial “Fighting Sioux” nickname. I specifically highlighted the fact that “7th Cavalry” had somehow made the consideration list for the university’s nickname committee.
You know, Custer’s cavalry. The one involved in the Battle of the Little Big Horn. The Army regiment responsible for the Wounded Knee massacre. Obviously a bizarre choice for a school moving on from a nickname because it was supposedly hostile and abusive to Native Americans.
I suggested that perhaps the committee was either mailing it in, just going through the motions of what has been a sham process all along, or were woefully in need of a remedial class in American history.
After I wrote that post I got a lot of criticism from people who said that I was just sensationalizing the inclusion of the name on the list. I was told that it was included on the considered list by mistake and that there was no way the school was actually considering it. Except yesterday, after multiple requests and a threat to file an open records complaint with the Attorney General’s office, UND turned over a list of all the domain names they’ve registered in anticipation of a nickname switch.
On the top of the list (see below) is “go7thcalvary.com”.
Not only did UND’s nickname transition consultant Padilla CRT include 7th Cavalry on the list of possible new nicknames, but they actually went so far as to purchase a domain for it. I find it as hard to believe as anyone else that UND’s new nickname is going to be the Fighting 7th Cavalry, but if it’s such a ridiculous and remote possibility why on earth did they register a domain for it?
Oh, and they managed to spell “cavalry” wrong. Soldiers fighting on horseback are called a cavalry.
Calvary is where Jesus was crucified according to the Bible.
On a related note, guess how much Padilla CRT has cost the University of North Dakota so far for this oh-so-well managed nickname transition process?
Turns out it’s $36,000 according to their contract with I obtained with an open records request. That seems excessive given the quality of their work so far.
UPDATE: Just in case you weren’t sure if UND was really, really taking this 7th Cavalry nickname seriously here’s Grand Forks Herald reporter Anna Burleson who can’t be bothered to credit who did the leg work on making this list of domains public:
Padilla branding expert Kelly O’Keefe said the names they bought were based on whether they were a viable choice that encompassed some of the qualities UND’s nickname committee has established, such as embodying the region and being fierce.
“We made case-by-case decisions based on our own judgment on whether we thought they should obtain a name to hold it for future availability or not,” O’Keefe said. “That doesn’t mean we thought all those names were great names. That’s not our decision to make.”
Someone made a conscious decision to register 7th Cavalry because they really, really think it’s a viable nickname.