VIEW: Trade names

By Nick Sallen

On Monday, former Bismarck mayor Marlan “Hawk” Haakenson registered the trade names of a few of the nickname options UND is considering.

Haakenson could not register Sundogs or Roughriders, though. He believes trademarking the possible names will prevent UND’s nickname committee from choosing a new nickname when UND stakeholders (students, alumni, staff, faculty and donors) vote on the remaining nicknames down the road.

Haakenson is a “Fighting Sioux” supporter. However, he is not an alumnus. Haakenson went to North Dakota State University. He has been quoted proclaiming, “President (Robert) Kelley will never have permission from me. I’ll use every legal means I have to stop him from using the names.”

UND’s spokesman Peter Johnson is confident that Haakenson’s actions will not impede the progress toward a new nickname.

What Haakenson doesn’t know is that his actions will not affect the NCAA or the university. Trade names such as “Roughriders” are connected to a motorcycle club, an apothecary and a welding company. That didn’t stop Red River High School in Grand Forks from adopting the name.

Looking at the whole fiasco from a realistic standpoint, the possibility of preventing a new nickname from being chosen is equal to a blizzard happening in the Kalahari desert. UND’s administration has gone through all the hoops and spent thousands of dollars to surpass any chance of a roadblock.

The North Dakota University System and the State board of Higher Education should easily be able to trump Haakenson. If by some miracle Haakenson is able to defeat both organizations, then he will have to face the NCAA. Haakenson is trying to make decisions that are out of his jurisdiction.

Our university couldn’t stand a chance against the NCAA from mandating a name change. For a former mayor to be able to stand against the titan of college sports would be a true David vs. Goliath story.

Hopefully this is the last story in the melting pot of drama surrounding UND’s new nickname. It’s time for us to look to the future and stop holding onto the past. The “Fighting Sioux” nickname was great when it was a part of the university. It is the same with the Flickertails nickname prior to the “Fighting Sioux.” Both names are great in their own right, and should be cherished as long as this university is standing.

So, if a new nickname is unavoidable, then we should embrace it with open arms instead of being angry at our own administration. Frustration with our own administration is harmful only to us. Instead of adding fuel to a civil war between the students and the administration, let’s work with the administration to choose a great nickname for us all.

Nick Sallen is the opinion editor for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]