The University of North Dakota will soon have a new nickname.
"I would say it's a very big deal," UND Alumni Association and Foundation CEO DeAnna Carlson Zink told the Grand Forks Herald. "It will be key for the university to still honor and recognize the past, our legacy, and yet move forward with this new name and create new tradition."
UND students, faculty, staff, retirees, alumni donors and current UND season ticket holders will be eligible to vote for one of the following nicknames, which were whittled down by a committee over the past several months:
- Fighting Hawks
- North Stars
The university expects to announce voting results next week – the name that receives more than 50 percent of the votes will be the new nickname. If that doesn't happen, there will be a runoff vote between the two top vote-getters.
Attempts to derail the new nickname
Long story short, the school dropped the nickname and logo in 2012 after the NCAA threatened sanctions. After a three-year moratorium playing without a nickname, the school began gathering and narrowing suggestions for a new moniker.
Not everyone is happy.
In the past few weeks, several groups have attempted to derail the vote. They have protested and started online campaigns, including The Sioux Were Silenced. A former Bismark mayor even trademarked some of the nickname options in an attempt to disrupt the process.
And last week, a lawsuit claiming UND President Robert Kelley "intended to exclude the option of retaining UND/North Dakota as a nickname on the vote" was filed, Valley News Live reported, a move many with ties to the university supported.
At least two American Indians were also part of the lawsuit, saying they should have been included in the nickname process and be considered eligible voters, the Grand Forks Herald reported.
Following the lawsuit, the university said it would continue with the vote as planned.