North Dakota voters approved a ballot measure allowing the University of North Dakota to discontinue use of its controversial nickname –the Fighting Sioux, the AP reports.
With 65 percent of precincts reporting, the measure has 67 percent support, with 33 percent opposing it.
The schools nickname has been under fire from the NCAA for many years, and the debate has been on-going in the state. Opponents say the nickname is offensive, and that it hurts the school’s athletic program.
On the support side, there’s the argument that the nickname is part of the school’s history and that it is not meant to offend. That argument is boosted by the fact that there are actually some Native American supporters.
In November 2011, members of the Spirit Lake Tribe actually sued the NCAA to keep the name, arguing that losing the Sioux name could mean losing ties between the university and the tribes. The suit was tossed out by a judge in May.
A group of supporters for the nickname has said that they plan to try and put a similar measure on the ballot in November.
It’s not yet known what the new nickname and logo might be, but there’s time to debate.
“Fighting Sioux” won’t be abandoned until January, 2015 at the earliest.