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Caution issued about nickname talks
17 November 2005

BISMARCK (UTN) - The president of United Tribes Technical College says it's an encouraging sign that there should be discussions about the UND nickname and logo.

      But David M. Gipp says the invitation for dialogue, made by the state's tribal leaders in September, is not the dialogue itself.

      Gipp commented today on a resolution by the North Dakota Board of Higher Education to have UND President Charles Kupchella conduct discussions with tribes to find "common ground" on the issue.

      Gipp cautioned observers about reading too much into the process before any substantive talks have taken place.

      "This is a step that tribes have been asking for," said Gipp. "No one should construe this step toward dialogue and negotiation as an acceptance of the current nickname and logo."

      "Tribal leaders are also aware that Kupchella lacks the authority by himself to make changes in the UND nickname or logo," he said. "He was relieved of that when the State Board of Higher Education made the decision to retain them in 2000."

      Gipp said the sanctions placed on UND by the National Collegiate Athletic Association have served to bring tribal people into the discussions.

      "I'm not aware that UND promoted any discussions recently on this topic before the NCAA issued the first of its rulings in August," said Gipp. "The state's tribal leaders passed a resolution asking for discussions because they felt they hadn't been consulted."


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