WDAY.com

WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published December 01, 2011, 06:59 PM

Spirit Lake Nickname Supporters Start Petition Drive to Put Law Back in Place

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Thursday marked the repeal of the state law the requires UND to keep The Fighting Sioux nickname and logo. Now, nickname backers have announced they will begin a petition drive to put that law back place.

By: David Schwab, WDAZ

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Thursday marked the repeal of the state law the requires UND to keep The Fighting Sioux nickname and logo.

Now, nickname backers have announced they will begin a petition drive to put that law back place.

Grant Shaft says UND will continue with its plan to substantially retire the Sioux Nickname and Logo by the end of this month and basically wait and see how this petition drive plays out.

The Spirit Lake tribe's Committee for Understanding and Respect issued a statement to officially begin the petition process to put the the Fighting Sioux nickname law to a statewide vote.

The committee needs 13,000 signatures by February 7 to put the nickname on the ballot and 27,000 signatures to put the nickname on the ballot as a constitutional amendment.

13,000 signatures alone would require UND to use the Fighting Sioux nickname again until there is a November vote.

"In other words, the legislative directive would still be that the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo is the name and logo of the University Of North Dakota," Board of Higher Education president Grant Shaft said.

Shaft says, if that happens, UND would likely have to re-implement the name and logo and wait and see what happens in the November vote.

Shaft says if the nickname law is put back in place after a statewide vote, the board's options are to do nothing or challenge the law.

"We would have the opportunity to challenge it constitutionally by indicating the constitution gives us full authority over the institutions and in that full authority, we have the authority to determine what is the nickname and logo in the best interest of the university," Shaft said.

Shaft hopes, if the law is put to a vote, that people study the issue to make an informed decision.

"The more you find out about what the facts really are and how it affects the university, the more likely you agree that it should be retired," Shaft said.

Shaft says the board has not discussed what actions, if any, it will take.

He says they do have the option to challenge the law to see it's constitutional.

Tags: