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UND nickname deadline extended 30 days

GRAND FORKS - The University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux nickname will live on for at least 30 more days to give the new Standing Rock tribal council a chance to weigh in on the issue.

The state Board of Higher Education extended today's deadline in a 6 to 1 vote.

If the Standing Rock tribal council indicates by Oct. 31 it wants to hold a referendum on the nickname, the board will consider another extension.

Board members said Nov. 30 will be a drop dead deadline to secure 30-year binding agreements with both Standing Rock and Spirit Lake Sioux tribes.

During the hourlong meeting by conference call, faculty adviser and UND professor Jon Jackson urged board members to keep today's deadline.

"Keeping the nickname and logo in play, you're holding back the UND mission," Jackson said.

Several board members said they want to give a new tribal council at Standing Rock a chance to state its position on the issue.

Charles Murphy defeated tribal chairman Ron His Horse Is Thunder in unofficial results. Grand Forks board member Grant Shaft said it's his understanding that Murphy will take office Oct. 14.

Fargo board member Mike Haugen was the lone opposing vote.

"We are promoting the divisive nature of this argument," Haugen said. "It's time to move on."

Haugen also said he had concerns about requiring a 30-year binding agreement from the tribes, something North Dakota's Legislature would never do.

"Why are we expecting a much higher standard and some sort of a commitment from the tribes that we ourselves would never follow?" Haugen said.

Spirit Lake has issued a resolution indicating perpetual support of the nickname, but board members said they would like to negotiate binding, legal agreements.

Bismarck board member Claus Lembke was absent from the meeting.