Monday, March 17, 2008

Chuck Kupcello

Hello, I am Chuck Kupcello, President of UND. I've been president of UND since 1999 and plan to retire this year. My successor, Dr. Robert Kelly, will be taking over my position on July 1. I have had a wonderful time watching students of this University grow. However, I can't say that I haven't had my share of trouble and division among the student body.

Even at this particular moment, a controversy is still brewing around the walls of our humble school. The Board and I were shocked by the August 5th 2005 statement released by the National College Athletic Association. It must be understood that we were charged with words such as "abusive" and "hostile." Such harsh words at first ruffled our feathers a bit, however we wanted to approach this statement calmly and peacefully. In all honesty, the Board and I, have decided against looking into the topic of political "correctness" dealing with the Native American images. This isn't because we don't wish to address the topic but rather because we know negotiations wouldn't undergo due to the strong yet stubborn feelings of both groups.
I would also like for the community to know that we have nothing against Native Americans and our logo design was even designed by a well respected American Indian. I would also like to point out that we have purposefully placed cultural architecture that pays respects to the Native Americans.

The NCAA, in their open statement to us, questioned our use of the name 'Fighting Sioux' and whether it was inappropriate. I would like to speak on behalf of the Board and myself, that the name isn't to be "hostile" or "abusive." There are two different Sioux tribes located here in North Dakota. The problem I have been trying to resolve is the unified decision between the two tribes. One tribe doesn't wish of the use of the name 'Sioux' while the other would allow the name under the circumstances that we educate our students about their culture and history in a positive and truthful light.
If there are any questions upon my open letter replying to the NCAA or even anything you wish to know about UND and the controversy please let me know. On behalf of the Board of Education and UND, I'd like to thank you.
Chuck Kupcello

Picture taken by Eric Hylden from, "The New York Times"


APaetz said...

Dear Chuck Kupcello

Thank you so much for the comments. I respect you for the way that you are handling the situation. I do agree that it is something that has to be dealt with fairly and you should look at both sides. Although i do feel that it is something that has been taken a little to far. If your not going to change the mascot then why even debate about the problem at hand? If people don't like your mascot then they don't need to go to your school or any events involved with your school. If they have a problem with it they do not need to be part of your program. Who is the mascot really harming? What does it matter if its a native american or a purple cow. Its all the same and everyone should be proud to represent there school no matter what there mascot is. Thank you for your time and your hard work. I respect you again for all that you do and how your dealing with the situation.

Gail Hayden

mgartner said...

Chuck Kupcello,

I respect your comments and it is very comforting to hear about the way you are handling the situation. I have no objection the the use of "Sioux" in your sports teams titles knowing that you have discussed with the students the meaning behind the name. In my opinion, the name would only become harmful to me and my fellow tribe members if it was used in a derogatory way. I am pleased to hear that that is not the case. I appreciate that our name is respected!

Thank you,
Sitting Moose

Mike B. said...

Dear Chuck Kupcello

I too applaud you for the way you and your University are trying to handle and solve this situation. I see that you say that you try to use the name "sioux" respectfully. Personally I do not think that because use of the name is "intended for good", does not make it acceptable. It is still disrespectful and it is obvious that people of all colors are still offended by it's use.

Mike B. said...

sorry forgot to sign my name, the last post was from Douglas Heartman, professor at the University of Minnesota

mgartner said...

President Chuck Kupcello,

I am very please to hear that you are doing what you can to erase the derogatory terms and attitudes that students use towards our name. Thank you for respecting the tribe and feeling honored to use the name. I am feeling much better about the issue because I have heard from many others that they take pride in the name.
-Sitting Moose

AlyssaV said...

Dear Mr. Kupcello,
I believe that you are mistaken in placing so much weight in my word. I do not think it is right for you to use the fighting Sioux as a mascot. I think in general Indians are lazy and it is a poor image to give to your school. Using that particular mascot may give the wrong impression of how Indian people really are. I personally wouldn't want my son being represented by that mascot. I don't even like the idea of him walking around in moccasins. That is my opinion and I am set in it. I believe your mascot is not physically harming anyone, and therefore you may do as you wish at your own discretion.

Wesley Hayden

Mike B. said...

Dear Chuck

Thanks for responding back to me. I like your argument and am glad your views are not racial like others on this blog. I still don't think your comparison of city names and the mascot is correct. There is nothing disrespectful over the name "Sioux falls" But the "fighting" in the UND mascot is uncalled for. Your University implies that all Sioux fight, which is obviously untrue. Not to mention the cities with Sioux in their name do not have a mascot dance and yell in front of crowds at sporting events.

-Douglas Heartman

JHeinitz said...

whats up chuck,
thanks for supporting our hockey team, it is much appreciated. I am feelin the love and i hope that you can sway some of the other school-goers to your side. Let them know that we hockey players aint no joke.
Yo Main Dog Kris

AlyMcP said...

Dear Chuck Kupcello,
Thank you for your kind words and support during this issue. If there is anything I can do to help support your school, please let me know. I'm glad you understand the pride and respect that comes with being Native American. I also am thrilled to hear the school holds us in high respects as well. Have a nice day,
-Ollie Young Bear