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Associated Press, Published March 02 2012

Fighting Sioux legal fight has broader impact

BISMARCK — An attorney says the lawsuit over the University of North Dakota's Fighting Sioux nickname could have much broader legal impact.

Legislative attorney John Bjornson told the Legislature's Higher Education Committee on Friday that the lawsuit could affect lawmakers' ability to regulate North Dakota's public colleges.

Bjornson says the lawsuit could apply to laws that ban campus smoking and dictate where buildings should be built.

The Board of Higher Education is challenging a law that says UND must use the Fighting Sioux nickname.

Its lawsuit says the Legislature has little authority to regulate North Dakota's university system.

College attorney Pat Seaworth says the board wants to get rid of the nickname law. He says the intent isn't to challenge the Legislature's power.

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Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.