May 19, 2014

Expel the "Siouxper Drunk" students?

Tribal leader urges UND to expel the students who wore offensive T-shirts

By Nadya FaulxDavid Archambault, chairman of the Standing Rock tribe, said that even if free speech laws protect the actions of the students, university representatives know the right thing to do.

“You feel it in your heart, not in your head, not in your mind,” he said. “You guys all feel it, that this is wrong.

“Expel them. Expel the students. Zero tolerance. If you do something like that, we won’t be meeting like this every other year.”

The names of the students have not been released, nor have any details regarding disciplinary action, per university privacy laws, said UND President Robert Kelley.

Archambault and others said they worried the lack of immediate action could send a message encouraging similar behavior in the future. He said he doesn’t “want the students to think that they can hide behind the law.”

Native American UND students are considering filing a grievance with the Office of Civil Rights, and possibly informing tribes to not send students to the university, said Leigh Jeanotte of UND’s American Indian Student Services.
Native Sun News: Indian students at UND protest racist t-shirts

By Brandon EcoffeyThe protest followed a release of demands that were made two days prior on May 15. The Native American Student on campus demanded that the university officially denounce the now-retired Fighting Sioux logo, make racial sensitivity training mandatory for incoming students and ban the Fighting Sioux logo from all academic settings. The demand to ban the logo from academic settings results from the continued use of the mascot imagery by UND staff according to students.

They would also ask that these institutional rules be enforced by a Zero Tolerance policy. That draft presented the Native Students reads: “The University of North Dakota practices a policy of Zero Tolerance of the use of and display of the retired “Fighting Sioux” logo. The university enacts a policy of Zero Tolerance for harassment, discrimination, promotion, or racial slurs in association with the retired “Fighting Sioux” logo on campus, off-campus, and in association with UND events both on and off-campus.” The proposed policy would go on to say,” The University of North Dakota practices a policy of Zero Tolerance of the use of the retired logo in the educational environment, campus activities, UND events and activities on campus, within campus premises, and in the community. It is committed to administering appropriate disciplinary action and holding students, staff/faculty, alumni, and affiliates accountable for violating the policy of Zero Tolerance.”

“When we walk in to administrative offices and see some faculty wearing the logo,” said Emmy Scott, one of the students who helped organize last Friday’s protest. Scott would go on to say that she feels that the UND students who were shown wearing the Siouxper Drunk t-shirts should be expelled from campus.

Although the University did condemn the t-shirts through statement released by President Kelley, some in the Native American community on campus were left disappointed.

Scott and other Native students felt that the statements made by UND officials reiterating that the Springfest event was not an official college function and the statements given by President Kelley addressing the Siouxper Drunk incident were largely for public relations purposes that catered to those who support the return of the Fighting Sioux Mascot and failed to address the underlying issues of discrimination.
Tribal Leaders Demand UND To Take Action On Racism"I don't think there's any question in anyone's mind that it's offensive ... offensive and racist," university spokesman Peter Johnson told Campus Reform. "We see it as a highly unfortunate situation, a terrible situation that connects to our needs to provide better education about sensitivity issues."

Leigh Jeanotte, member of the University of North Dakota's American Indian Student Services, told Forum News Service Native American students at the university are considering filing a grievance with the Office of Civil Rights, and possible "informing tribes to not send students to the university."

"Students are at a point where they don't have a lot of options," Jeanotte said.
Comment:  I probably wouldn't expel these students for a first offense. Give them a lesser punishment, maybe a suspension or sensitivity training, and warn them not to do it again. A second offense may be grounds for expulsion.

For more on the subject, see Natives Protest "Siouxper Drunk" T-Shirts and "Siouxper Drunk" = Hostile and Abusive.

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