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Faculty Group Gives Kupchella Petition Urging Nickname Change

UND President Charles Kupchella was presented Wednesday with another voice in favor of changing the university's controversial Fighting Sioux nickname. During a meeting of the University Council, Margaret Zidon gave Kupchella a petition signed by a vast majority of faculty in the UND teaching and learning department asking him to change the name

About 15 of the 20-21 full-time faculty signed the petition Zidon an assistant professor in the department said. The remaining teaching and learning faculty members weren't able to attend an earlier meeting at which the petition was signed, Zidon said after giving it to the president. As he has done when presented with other opinions about the nickname, Kupchella thanked Zidon for the petition.

The president, who inherited the nickname controversy when he became UND's president more than a year ago, appointed a commission early this year to study the impact of changing or keeping the name. Kupchella will receive the commission's final report Nov. 20 and will decide shortly thereafter whether to keep or change the name, which is considered derogatory by many people because Sioux means "snake" in some definitions. The nickname debate is also considered a human rights issue by most American Indians and a majority of faculty members at UND because, they contend, it dehumanizes Indian people. The name is favored by a majority of UND students, alumni and non-faculty employees. They believe the name honors both UND and people referred to as Sioux: Lakota, Dakota and Nakota people.

Grand Forks Herald, November 9, 2000

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