I think you should find my confusion here understandable, since obviously if we were to call our teams â€œThe Dakotans,â€ we would actually be in more direct violation of what apparently you are trying to establish as a rule, even though this is the name of our state. This situation, of course, is not unlike that faced by our sister institution in Illinois.
Is it only when some well-meaning people object to the use of the names of tribes? If so, what standard did you use to decide where the line from acceptable to â€œhostileâ€ and â€œabusiveâ€ is crossed? We note that you exempted a school with a certain percentage of American Indian students. We have more than 400 American Indian students here. Who decided that a certain percentage was okay, but our percentage was not? Where is the line between okay and hostile/abusive?
We have two Sioux tribes based here in North Dakota. One has, in fact, objected to our use of the name, â€œSioux,â€ applied to our sports teams. The other said it was okay, provided that we took steps to ensure that some good comes of it, in educating people and students about the cultural heritage of this region. This mix of opinions is apparently not unlike that faced by our sister institution in Florida.
Is it only about applying names to sports teams? If so, would this be extended to the use of the names of all people, or is it just American Indians? Why would you exempt the â€œFighting Irishâ€ from your consideration, for example? Or â€œVikings,â€ which are really fighting Scandinavians, or â€œWarriors,â€ which I suppose could be described as fighting anybodies? Wouldnâ€™t it be â€œdiscrimination on account of raceâ€ to have a policy that applies to Indians but not to Scandinavians or the Irish, or anybody else for that matter? This seems especially profound in light of a letter to me from President Brand (8/9/05) in which he, in very broad-brush fashion and inconsistent with the NCAAâ€™s recent much narrower pronouncement, said, â€œwe believe that mascots, nicknames or images deemed hostile or abusive in terms of race, ethnicity or national origin should not be visible at our events.â€ (my emphasis)