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Published March 17, 2011, 06:55 PM

ND Higher Ed Board Plans Meeting on UND Bill

North Dakota's Board of Higher Education should meet soon to discuss its response to legislation that requires the University of North Dakota to keep its Fighting Sioux nickname, the chancellor of the state university system said Thursday.

By: Associated Press,

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota's Board of Higher Education should meet soon to discuss its response to legislation that requires the University of North Dakota to keep its Fighting Sioux nickname, the chancellor of the state university system said Thursday.

William Goetz said he hoped to schedule a special meeting of the board, which has eight voting members, within a week. One factor is whether board members want to meet in person or by conference call, Goetz said.

The state Senate gave the bill final legislative approval last Friday. Gov. Jack Dalrymple signed it into law late Tuesday, less than an hour after it was delivered to his office. It does not take effect until Aug. 1, which is when most bills approved by the 2011 Legislature will become law.

The law sets no penalties if the university doesn't comply, but UND would be likely to have more difficulty with future legislative budget requests.

The Board of Higher Education last year ordered the University of North Dakota to drop the nickname and an American Indian head logo that the NCAA considers hostile to American Indians. UND has been planning to retire both in August.

NCAA policy says institutions that continue using offensive American Indian imagery will be sanctioned. UND would be barred from hosting NCAA post-season tournaments, and its athletes would not be allowed to wear the nickname or logo on their uniforms during post-season play.

Goetz said Robert Kelley, the president of UND, needed "some sense of direction" from the board in light of the Legislature's order that UND keep the nickname and logo.

He said he is also waiting for a possible response from the NCAA, which said after the legislation was approved that its policy on American Indian imagery remained unchanged.

"The sooner we can have a board meeting, the better," Goetz said.

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