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Chuck Haga, Forum Communications Co., Published April 04 2012

Fighting Sioux ballot language OK'd

North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger today released approved ballot language for the referred measure concerning UND’s Fighting Sioux nickname.

The issue will be one of several measures on the June 12 primary election ballot.

Because the nickname measure asks for a vote on a referral of a law requiring UND to keep the nickname, Jaeger said his office took care to ensure that voters would understand what a “yes” vote or a “no” vote would do.

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem reviewed and approved the ballot language, Jaeger said.

Here is how Referendum Measure No. 4 will appear on the ballot:

“This referendum measure would reject Senate Bill 2370 as passed by the Legislative Assembly in the November 2011 special session (Session Laws, Chapter 580). Senate bill 2370 repealed section 15-10-46 of the North Dakota Century Code, which required the University of North Dakota to use the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo. Approval of the referendum measure would mandate the use of the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo by the University of North Dakota.”

“Yes — means you approve the measure as summarized above.

“No — means you reject the measure as summarized above.”

The State Board of Higher Education seeks to retire the nickname and logo to comply with terms of a lawsuit settlement agreement with the NCAA and avoid continuing NCAA sanctions against UND. The board and UND officials supported repeal of the 2011 nickname law.

The law drew the threatened sanctions when it went into effect in August 2011 and again in December when the filing of petitions to “repeal the repeal” had the effect of at least temporarily reinstating the law.

On behalf of the state board, the attorney general’s office last month asked the state Supreme Court to declare the law unconstitutional and to strike the referral from the ballot. The court, in an opinion released Tuesday, declined to take up the constitutional question at this time or to direct the secretary of state not to place the referendum measure on the June ballot.