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UND official wanted more time to state nickname opposition

Grand Forks, North Dakota (AP) 11-07

The leader of American Indian Student Services at the University of North Dakota says staff members were not given enough time to detail their opposition to the school’s “Fighting Sioux” nickname when a Sioux tribal delegation came to visit.

Ralph Engelstad Arena General Manager Jody Hodgson disputes that, saying the amount of time had been decided beforehand.

A delegation from the Standing Rock Sioux tribe traveled to campus recently to talk with students, faculty, staff and alumni. The visit was organized by arena general manager Jody Hodgson and arena envoy Sam Dupris, a retired FAA administrator who is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.

UND recently reached a lawsuit settlement with the NCAA that gives the school three years to win tribal support for its nickname and Indian-head logo, or retire them. The lawsuit was over a 2005 NCAA mandate that barred the nickname’s use in postseason play.

The meetings were closed to the media, but American Indian Student Services director Leigh Jeanotte said the tribal delegation was “ushered out” soon after staff members began stating their opposition to the nickname.

“They were ushered out as soon as things got tense,” he said. “They asked us about the name issue and we responded, but we had a whole lot more to say.”

Hodgson said the group left “at a prearranged, scheduled time.”

“Everyone involved was aware we had 30 minutes,” he said. “They made their presentations and the group had an opportunity to ask questions.”

UND President Charles Kupchella, who met with the tribal delegation on Tuesday, described the two-hour meeting as a chance for the Standing Rock group to gather accurate information about the school.

“This was a group that came here to find out for themselves what kind of place this is,” Kupchella said. “That’s something we’re really grateful for, because many times people have an impression of what’s going on here based on hearsay and misinformation.”
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