- Associated Press - Monday, May 12, 2014

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) - Young people who wore T-shirts with a caricature of the University of North Dakota’s former Indian head logo drinking out of a beer bong perpetuated a derogatory and harmful stereotype of American Indians and should not be accepted, the school’s president said Monday.

The shirts that were stamped with the words “Siouxper Drunk” apparently were worn for an annual spring party that attracts students and others and is not associated with the university. Kelley said he was appalled by “the poor judgment and lack of understanding” that led people to create and wear the shirts.

“The message on the shirts demonstrated an unacceptable lack of sensitivity and a complete lack of respect for American Indians and all members of the community,” Kelley said in a statement.

The school’s longtime Fighting Sioux logo was dropped in 2012 after several years of bickering with the NCAA, which deemed the logo hostile and abusive and threatened sanctions if the moniker was not retired. The Legislature has said a new nickname cannot be selected until 2015.

Group photos of about ten people wearing the shirts were circulated over the weekend on social media. Several of the school’s Native American students saw them on the blog LastRealIndians.com, said Leigh Jeanotte, director of UND American Indian Student Services.

“We have a number of students who are quite upset and quite angry,” Jeanotte said. “We basically told them that if they feel the need they can file an incident report with the dean of student’s office.”

Jeanotte said he couldn’t speak further because he has been told by the school administration to forward any questions about “major incidents” to Peter Johnson, the school’s executive associate vice president for university relations. Johnson did not return a phone message left Monday by The Associated Press.

Kelley said the school does not believe the group represents any UND organization.

UND has a responsibility to promote respect and civility within the campus community, and we have the responsibility and right to speak out against hateful behavior,” Kelley said. “As a university, we teach respect for others. It is imperative that, through our actions, we demonstrate respect for all.”

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