WDAY.com

WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published March 16, 2011, 09:20 PM

Site: UND Used University Plane to Transport Students, Officials to Nickname Hearings

UND says they're keeping transparent
An online news source says the University of North Dakota used its planes to ferry students and administrative staff to Bismarck to testify against the Fighting Sioux nickname bill.

An online news source says the University of North Dakota used its planes to ferry students and administrative staff to Bismarck to testify against the Fighting Sioux nickname bill.

The story was first reported on PlainsDaily.com

The report has raised questions from some, and now UND spokesman Peter Johnson says he wants to answer these questions.

"The public has a right to know how state government and universities spend money," Johnson said Wednesday.

Johnson says UND has been transparent about its flight records.

"We've been using these modes of transportation for 30 years. State officials fly back and forth all the time. That's not uncommon," Johnson said.

Johnson says in January, UND President Robert Kelley went to Bismarck to testify on other university-related matters and not just on the nickname.

Just a few weeks ago, three students were also flown to Bismarck. The two Beech C-90-A King Airs are owned by the UND Aerospace Foundation.

"The funds are institutional funds that would be spent any way we get to Bismarck," Johnson said.

The Plains Daily article questioned how the three students were approached to lobby against the nickname and logo. Johnson says they signed up. He also says two of the three were student government members, while the third was a student-athlete.

"The state board took a position and asked the university to come out and support them. We do that all the time when we go to Bismarck on all kinds of legislation," Johnson said.

Tags: