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Protesters of "Siouxper Drunk" Shirts Demand Change - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Protesters of "Siouxper Drunk" Shirts Demand Change

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  Two-hundred UND Native American students and supporters protested in what was called, “A Walk for Change” today. The protest stems from some students wearing “Siouxper Drunk” T-shirts during Spring Fest last weekend.  The shirts showed the old, Fighting Sioux logo with him drinking out of a beer bong.

    Today, protesters marched from the Indian Students Services building, next to the Gama Phi Sororiety to Twamly Hall, the administration building.

Reporter: “Will this make a difference?”

Pres. Robert Kelley: “Neil, I do. I do indeed. The University is all about teaching and learning.”

  There are currently 600 Native American students attending UND.

Reporter: “Do you think the students who wore the Siouxper Drunk t-shirts should be disciplined?”

Lis LaFontaine, Student: “Of course. I think they should be held accountable.”

  However, the most of the total population of 15-thousand students did not march today. They’ve already left campus or were packing up. The semester is over.

Reporter: “Do you think students who wore the T-shirts should be disciplined?”

Mitch Martinson, Student: “Not at all. It wasn’t a UND evernt. At what point do your First Amendment rights come into it?”

Danielle Miller, Student: “Freedom of speech guarantees you the right to wear a racist t-shirt. But it does not make you exempt from criticism and consequesnces from wearing that t-shirt.”

  Protest organizers went on to list several demands of the administration, including sensitivity training for incoming students and a total ban of the old Fighting Sioux nickname and logo on campus.

  Organizers are threatening lawsuits and more if their demands aren’t met.

Emmy Scott, Student: “All tribes within North Dakota and surrounding States will be contacted to encourage their students to attend other colleges and universities.”

Pres. Robert Kelley: “I accept these requests on behald of the University and I also pledge we will continue to work with you in reaching a resolution that is satisfactory, within the rules of law.”

    Protest organizers are also demanding that UND gets a new, nickname and logo now, in order to stop the ongoing debate over the old one.

ORIGINAL STORY

Students and others are protesting through the University of North Dakota campus to call attention to what they say has been "inaction" by UND leaders after several people were seen wearing controversial T-shirts over the weekend.

Dozens of people turned out for the walk that started at 11:00 Friday morning. The protesters began at the American Indian Student Services Building and end at the UND administration building, Twamley Hall.

Representatives from the school's American Indian Student group tell Valley News Live they are expecting a large crowd on Friday, including members of several Native American Tribes in the area.

The controversy started at the annual Springfest event when several people were seen wearing shirts with the words "Siouxper Drunk" on the front.  The shirts also had a picture of an Indian head drinking from a beer bong.

UND President Robert Kelley released a statement calling the T-shirts derogatory and harmful but didn't mention any action that might be taken by the school or against any students that wore them.  He did point out that Springfest is not a UND event.

Organizers of the protest walk say the shirts are just the latest example of people using UND's former nickname in an offensive way.  They are now calling on university officials to denounce the Fighting Sioux logo, ban it from academic settings, select a new nickname and logo as soon as possible, and require racial sensitivity training for incoming students.
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