ST. CLOUD (AP) -- Officials at State Cloud State want the University of North Dakota to leave their "Fighting Sioux" logos at home when their men's hockey teams play Nov. 2.
"We don't tolerate hate speech," said Sudie Hofmann, associate professor and chairwoman of St. Cloud State's human relations and multicultural education department, who considers the nickname and logo insulting to American Indians.
The dispute over North Dakota's logo is not new. In March, St. Cloud State President Roy Saigo submitted a resolution to the National Collegiate Athletic Association asking for the elimination of all American Indian nicknames.
"One university cannot change this," said Rex Veeder, assistant to the president for special projects at St. Cloud State. "It needs to be on a broader sort of level ... UND is not going to buckle from one university's concern over this."
St. Cloud State has also presented its case to Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, the governing body for state schools including St. Cloud State; the North Central Conference and the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. St. Cloud State and North Dakota are members of the NCC and WCHA.
"President Saigo has taken this as a personal issue and taken it to the highest level," said Morris Kurtz, director of intercollegiate athletics for St. Cloud State.
The WCHA didn't adopt a policy against American Indian nicknames, and North Dakota refused to require its teams to wear jerseys with nicknames, Kurtz said.
"Without the league's backing, they have the right to choose to wear what they want," he said.
North Dakota's nickname controversy came to a head last year. Ralph Engelstad, a wealthy, recluse alumnus, threatened to pull a $100 million donation he pledged to his alma mater, if officials changed the school's nickname.
Engelstad, a goalie on North Dakota's hockey team about 50 years ago, had pledged the money to build the school a world-class hockey arena, with leftover funds to be channeled to other university programs.
Engelstad vowed that without the school's nickname, he would take his money and leave the half-built arena unfinished. That's when the state's higher education board stepped in and unanimously voted to keep the nickname. Board members said the nickname upholds North Dakota's tradition and honors American Indians.
Not everyone agreed. When the new Engelstad Arena opened earlier this month, protesters organized a three-day conference. About 50 people from St. Cloud State and St. Cloud Technical College attended and provided support.
Lucy Ganje, an associate professor of communications at North Dakota who strongly opposes her school's nickname, said St. Cloud State's support is important.
"It's becoming more obvious that change is going to come about from pressure from without," she said.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.