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Published August 11 2012

Forum editorial: Why not spit into the wind?

Regarding the tiresome saga of the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux logo, there is good news, more good news and, well, stupid news.

The good news is that North Dakotans in June said “enough!” and voted by a landslide to retire the controversial nickname and logo. The continuing good news is that the state Board of Higher Education moved quickly to honor voters’ wishes by directing UND to retire the logo and ramp up the search for something new.

The stupid news? Die-hard supporters of the nickname say they will continue collecting signatures to force another vote on the issue, this time for a constitutional amendment that would declare UND sports teams to be known as the Fighting Sioux but “would not require them to actually use the name and logo.”

How’s that for stupid?

There’s a goofy disconnect between mandating a name for UND teams and then not requiring them to use the name. Why go for another vote, which by their definition would be little more than an obtuse symbolic gesture? Why renew the bitter debate over a matter voters clearly settled? Why insult North Dakotans by saying they did not understand the issue on the June ballot?

Talk about spitting into a stiff North Dakota wind.

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, who in his UND heart loves the old logo, put the stupid news in a smart legal and political context:

“When the voters by a 2-to-1 margin decided they didn’t think this matter belonged in a statute, they surely are not going to enshrine this in the fundamental document of our democracy,” he said.

The sincere though misguided supporters of a constitutional amendment said they were ready to get the question on the November ballot but backed off because the ballot is too crowded. They said they’ll go for the ballot of June 2014. That’s a little less than two years from now when UND likely will have completed transition to a new nickname and logo.

No one should doubt the sincerity of the Spirit Lake Sioux Tribe’s Committee for Understanding and Respect, the ad hoc group that, ironically, apparently will not respect the will of the voters. But sincerity without wisdom is nothing to crow about. Sincerity is not enough to overcome the muddle-headed foolishness of the committee’s quixotic quest.


Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.