'Like they're not listening:' Nickname protest scheduled for Friday near UND

When Krista Easterday heard UND's nickname committee had eliminated the option of continuing to play as UND/North Dakota, she said she couldn't sit idly by any longer.

When Krista Easterday heard UND's nickname committee had  eliminated the option of continuing to play as UND/North Dakota , she said she couldn't sit idly by any longer.

"It pushed a lot of buttons," the Fargo native said. "Taking North Dakota off the ballot, because having followed this and knowing the majority have voted for that nickname and then having that taken away from us, it's like they're not listening." The peaceful protest will be at 5 p.m. Friday outside the Chester Fritz Auditorium on University Avenue. Easterday said having a protest as soon as possible was very important.

"People can make signs, come out and be ready to voice an opinion," she said. "If we end up singing UND songs, that's fine. There's that too. People just need to come and represent because if we're not going to be heard through the media and in the meetings, maybe they'll hear us in person."

Two groups have been working at UND since last fall to find a permanent nickname for the school after its Fighting Sioux nickname was retired in 2012.

The committee submitted Fighting Hawks, Nodaks, North Stars, Roughriders and Sundogs to UND President Robert Kelley for approval, eliminating Green Hawks and continuing to play as UND/North Dakota at a meeting Tuesday night.


UND spokesman Peter Johnson said Easterday sought permission from the university, but because the approval process would take a long time, UND instead suggested she hold the protest on city property: the sidewalk.

"We were trying to be helpful to her and find something that would meet her timeline," Johnson said.

Easterday said she contacted the Grand Forks Police Department and the city of Grand Forks, though they were not able to verify the claim after business hours.

Easterday, who grew up a Fighting Sioux fan, said her goal is for UND/North Dakota to be put back on the list of nickname options for the public to vote on and for people's voices to be heard.

"It's kind of facing the president's house, which is someone we really want to hear us," she said.

It's unclear how many will attend, but Easterday said she thinks it will be more than the 20 or 30 she had originally thought would drive up from Fargo.

Johnson said he hadn't heard concrete plans yet but assumed the University Police Department would be present for the protest as a typical safety precaution. Police were at the scene of the May 2014 Walk For Change protest as well.

Another protest organized by The Sioux Were Silenced campaign , a group which also wants to retain UND/North Dakota as an option, is slated to happen the weekend of Aug. 22, though details have not been solidified yet.


Easterday said she did a radio interview as well and knows the word is spreading.

"We need to be involved," she said. "The fans, the community, the people that care, not some committee we didn't get to pick."

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