UND sorority criticized again for insensitivity to American Indians


The Gamma Phi Beta sorority at the University of North Dakota is once again being criticized for behavior that some are calling insensitive to American Indians.

On Monday, in celebration of the UND men's hockey team playing in the NCAA Frozen Four tournament, the sorority hung a pink banner outside its house that read, "You can take away our mascot but you can't take away our pride!" the Grand Forks Herald says.

UND's controversial Fighting Sioux nickname and logo were dropped in 2012 after a long, drawn-out dispute with the NCAA.

The Gamma Phi Beta house sits next to the American Indian Center on UND's campus. Monday was also the start of UND's Time Out week, which is sponsored by the university's Indian Studies Association.

People were quick to react to the banner on social media, and it was taken down the same day.

The national chapter of the sorority issued an apology for the banner on Tuesday and UND's President Robert Kelley issued a statement saying he was very disappointed.

In 2008, the sorority was criticized for holding a "cowboy and Indian" party in which attendees wore headdresses, face paint, and other stereotypical garb. As a result, the sorority was put on probation for a year and received diversity education, the Grand Forks Herald said.

The sorority will get diversity training again after Monday's incident, the national organization said Tuesday.

Because of the 2008 incident, some people are calling for harsher punishments this time around. But Maureen Walker, a spokesperson for Gamma Phi Beta, said it is a different group of women involved in the banner incident and those involved in the 2008 party are no longer members, the Grand Forks Herald says.

Valley News Live reports the banner incident is just the most recent in a series of backlash since the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo were dropped.

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