Matt Bakke, Grand Forks
As the June 12 election comes near I wanted to take the opportunity to share my experiences and thoughts about Measure 4. As a past student body president and student athlete I have always been proud to represent the University of North Dakota and the Fighting Sioux logo and nickname whether on the field or off. With that said, I urge all North Dakotans to vote "yes" on Measure 4 thereby retiring the nickname and logo with pride and honor. The current NCAA sanctions have not only compromised the athletics program at UND in recruiting, conference affiliation and post-season play, but it has also impacted the academics across campus.
Academically, I believe UND has and will continue to find it hard to recruit and retain top faculty, administration, and of course students with the continued use of the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo. While the spirit and pride of the logo and nickname are important, the academic mission of the greater university is paramount. As such, nothing should be permitted to distract from the basic responsibilities of the University of North Dakota: to educate and to do so in an environment free of controversy.
As student body president I witnessed first hand the divide that this issue created not only among students but also among faculty and staff at UND. I heard many stories from both sides of the issue and lament the aggression and negative impact it has had on this university community.
Again, as someone who cares deeply for the success of the university and tradition of our athletics, I cannot stress enough the need to retire the nickname and logo.
As a past football player for UND, one of my fondest memories is enjoying the stories of football players who came before me. I appreciate their commitment to academic success as well as their sacrifice for athletic glory. I strongly believe that future UND students and student-athletes deserve the opportunity to enjoy all that the University of North Dakota has to offer free of this ongoing controversy and uncertainty. Please vote "yes" on Measure 4 on June 12.