VIEW: Backlash

By Nick Sallen

In August, President Kelley received an email from the man UND police believe to be William Ragan. In the e-mail, Ragan called President Kelley a traitor and “a waste of human tissue.” The criticism is due largely to the school’s retirement of the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo.

Since January, Ragan has vocalized his frustrations, using multiple e-mail addresses in his attacks. Ragan’s alleged comments include calling President Kelley a Native American hater and a “liberal (expletive).” Ragan is not the only one to send President Kelley a harsh e-mail.

Kelley got a lot of backlash after “North Dakota” was dropped as a potential new nickname. Some students did not like the nickname decision, calling Kelley a dictator and questioning his intelligence.

The personal attacks on Kelley are unnecessary, baseless, and inappropriate.

A blasphemous message came in July, when President Kelley got an e-mail in which the sender wished that Kelley would die.

Officers are at UND events to ensure the safety of everyone. Last year, officers were present at a march, two protests regarding the school’s nickname and a student senate meeting where a vote of no-confidence for Kelley and a handful of administrators was discussed.

The nickname drama has been going on for far too long. Honestly, I wish UND would’ve chosen a nickname already, and stop wasting money. The lengthy process known as the nickname committee should be coming to an end, when in October UND stakeholders will be able to vote on the remaining nickname options: Roughriders, North Stars, Nodaks, Sundogs and Fighting Hawks

Allegations from the community that President Kelley didn’t do enough to defend the Fighting Sioux name are not fair. Kelley took office in July 2008, when the NCAA was already barring members from using Native American imagery, threatening sanctions due to UND’s Fighting Sioux logo.

Kelley’s arrival came at an unfortunate time when UND stakeholders were losing their identity. Community members didn’t take kindly to the NCAA’s sanctions. Kelley’s first actions with the NCAA were critical and I think he did the best job he could. There’s nothing he could have done to keep a hold on the Fighting Sioux nickname.

With the decision to move on to a new nickname, it seems too easy to blame the University’s President. The nickname fiasco transcends President Kelley though. Former President Charles Kupchella also had a role in the drama with the NCAA. In 2005, controversy reignited when the NCAA sanctioned UND and other schools for having a “hostile and abusive” nickname.

It has been a decade since the NCAA ignited the drama surrounding the Fighting Sioux nickname. I expect it to be another decade before students learn to accept the new nickname.