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Published April 21, 2010, 05:16 PM

Governor Hoeven Weighs In On Nickname Battle

In a letter sent to state board of higher education chancellor Bill Goetz, Governor John Hoeven urged the board to give consideration to any Standing Rock vote on the nickname and logo. The board made an April decision to retire the name.

By: Steven Bodakowski, WDAZ

In a letter sent to state board of higher education chancellor Bill Goetz, Governor John Hoeven urged the board to give consideration to any Standing Rock vote on the nickname and logo.

The board made an April decision to retire the name.

In a letter written to State Board of Higher Education Chancellor Bill Goetz, Governor John Hoeven says "I recommend you give due consideration to any vote by the Standing Rock Tribe should it occur prior to November 30th." This was the first time Hoeven has weighed in on the issue.

Grant Shaft:" I think it pretty much is in agreement with what we as a board have already said, that is prior to the November 30th deadline the Standing Rock tribe does have an election and give the board approval we would give consideration that's what he encouraged us to do."

State board member Grant Shaft says the letter reinforces their position. Retirement was a way to allow UND to be considered for admission into the Summit League during their June meeting. It was not meant to shut the tribes out. Until the issue was resolved UND would not be considered.

Grant Shaft: "I think he spoke today on the issue and its appears he's on the same page as the board of higher education."

Hoeven's letter came after the Spirit Lake Committee For Understanding and Respect wrote Hoeven asking him to intervene with the board's decision to retire the name in April.

Grants Shaft: "The state board we work with his office all the time, he appointed all us to the board, and while he doesn't have authority over the issue we do give consideration to his recommendations."

Hoeven acknowledged the board carries the authority in the letter. Standing Rock is in the process of drafting a policy to have a vote, and today a supporter there said their council could decide on a vote next week.

Shaft says for the board to reverse their decision Standing Rock would have to meet all their requirements which includes an agreement giving UND permission to use the name for a period no less than 30-years.

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