"It's going to make our lives a whole lot easier." -that was the reaction today from one U.N.D. official to the overwhelming vote to retire the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo.
Sixty-seven percent of North Dakotan's voted yes on Measure Four, in favor of retiring the nickname during Tuesday's State primary election.
The people have spoken and according to State Higher Ed Board member, Duaine Espegard, UND once again has the power in hand to go ahead and continue the process of retiring the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo.
Espegard says the Higher Ed Board had already given UND the power to retire the nickname. The initiated measure just put things on hold.
Duaine Espegard: "The vote is now over UND will just proceed on with what the people have said and that is retiring the nickname."
UND's Athletic Director says it will make their lives a whole lot easier, since it should lift NCAA sanctions and eliminate other schools concerns about scheduling games with UND.
Brian Faison, UND Athletic Director: "It's something we needed to get addressed and we appreciate the fact that voters were willing to step forward and vote the way they did."
Peter Johnson, UND Media Relations: "Absolutely. We're looking forward to being able to focus more and more of our time on the critical issues for the University."
Native American students say retiring the nickname should also take them out of the crossfire surrounding the controversy.
Damian Webster, UND Student: "It just kid of divides the Community, where you almost have to take a side and you're going to get crap for it whether you're pro or you're against it. It takes away from the education."
Kaylee Trottier, UND Student: "It's been a long time since I could feel comfortable at a basketball or hockey game and it's one of the activities I really, really enjoy."
However, the entire issue isn't completely dead yet. The group that started the first petition drive still plans on circulating another petition to get the nickname issue on the fall ballot.