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By Staff | May 4, 2012

Much has been written and debated about Measure 2 and it is an important issue, however, there are three other measures on the June Primary ballot for North Dakota, as well.

Measure #1 would prohibit the appointment of a member of the Legislative Assembly to a state office for which the compensation was increased in an amount greater than any general legislative increase provided to full-time state employees during the member’s term of office.

Measure #3 would add a new section to Article I of the North Dakota Constitution stating, “Government may not burden a person’s or religious organization’s religious liberty. The right to act or refuse to act in a manner motivated by a sincerely held religious belief may not be burdened unless the government proves it has a compelling governmental interest in infringing the specific act or refusal to act and has used the least restrictive means to further that interest. A burden includes indirect burdens such as withholding benefits, assessing penalties, or an exclusion from programs or access to facilities.”

Measure #4 concerns Senate Bill 2370 as passed by the Legislative Assembly in the November 2011 special session (Session Laws, Chapter 580). Senate Bill 2370 repealed section 15-10-46 of the North Dakota Century Code, which required the University of North Dakota to use the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo.

YES means you approve Senate Bill 2370, the effect of which would allow the University of North Dakota to discontinue the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo.

NO means you reject Senate Bill 2370, and would require the University of North Dakota to use the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo.

The issue of the UND nickname and logo “Fighting Sioux” has been a topic of much discussion since 2005 when the NCAA put UND on a list of schools with American Indian nicknames which the NCAA said were “hostile and offensive”.

In the last ND legislative session, legislators approved a bill that ordered the school to continue using the nickname. The legislators later changed their minds as the NCAA put on pressure for the issue to be resolved. The UND nickname was then supposed to be dropped to meet the NCAA standards. Now, it is back on the ballot in the form of a measure and one last (we can only hope) attempt to keep the nickname.

In addition, this is one of those measures where “No” means yes (keeping the nickname) and “Yes” means no (do not keep nickname).

Proponents say an overwhelming “No” vote would possibly prompt the NCAA to relax its opposition because they will see that the majority of the state backs the measure if the “No” vote wins.

I have great empathy for those many generations who have Sioux pride, but we must remember that UND is first an education facility and second a sports facility. Yes, sports brings much money to the university, however, its main purpose is to educate students. Change isn’t necessarily bad in the long run. After all, before 1930 UND’s nickname was “The Flickertails” after the unofficial state mammal.

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