New nickname, logo task force assembled

The Fighting Sioux logo and mascot. Photo by Jennifer Friese/The Dakota Student.

In 2012 when UND retired the Fighting Sioux nickname, questions were immediately raised over when a new nickname for the school would be picked. Since then, legislation has been passed putting a hold on this possibility until 2015.

UND administrators announced last Thursday the creation of a “task force” to help gather information about a new nickname and logo in coordination with UND President Robert Kelley. The task force is made up of alumni, student athletes, faculty and students.

In the email announcing the formation of the task force, it is explained that the goal is for the 13 members of the group to gather information and opinions to help make an informed decision on what our new nickname will be. The team will be hoping to submit their findings to Kelley by the end of the semester.

Leading the team are two professional facilitators — Marie Miyashiro and Kelly O’Keefe. The two have noted how important this decision is for the university and the city of Grand Forks, so O’Keefe has promised to keep the public informed as the decision making progresses.

Seeing UND create a task force for picking a new nickname has people wanting to chime in with their own opinion. Those chosen are taking pride in being a big part in this major decision.

Student perspective

RJ Morin, a student at UND who is from North Dakota, is one of the 13 members on the task force. He has been working hard to inform people about the importance of the Sioux name.

“I have been in a leader’s shoes fairly often, and one of the advisors say that and figured I would be a good candidate and voice for a part of the new name,” Morin said.

With the goal for the task force to submit their suggestion by the end of the year, it is going to be a lot of work for RJ and the other members on the task force.

“The timeline for the task force is fairly quick,”Morin said. “We want to get a new name to UND and the students as soon as possible.”

“Many have contacted me already with ideas and detailed questions, and I take everything with an open mind and will do my best to make as many people happy as possible,” Morin said. “Once we can all find a time to chip away at a new name it will get the ball rolling and really push for us to have a name second semester.”

RJ, the other members of the task force, student, alumni, and many more know the meaning of the Fighting Sioux nickname. Having to replace the historic nickname is no simple task, but RJ is optimistic that moving toward a new nickname will help everyone.

“A new name is only going to move us forward in the long run and hopefully right here and now it can give the students something to cheer for other than just UND” Morin said.

Since the retirement of the Fighting Sioux nickname, many have been waiting for a new mascot to be put in place to give UND something to stand behind again.

“I was honored when I was asked to do it and have no regrets of accepting nor will I” Morin says.

He is excited for years to come so he can “look at the nickname of the school and know that I helped with that name and be a proud alumni one day.”

The task force is already creating excitement among everyone at UND. They are hoping to use that energy and by keeping the lines of communication open be able to suggest a new nickname to President Kelley by the end of this semester.

Parker Payne is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected].