- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 2, 2015

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) - The University of North Dakota Student Senate believes “North Dakota” should be an option when people affiliated with the university vote on a new nickname for the school.

The student group passed a resolution over the weekend in favor of the option, despite university President Robert Kelley saying last week that it would not be included in the vote, WDAZ-TV reported (https://bit.ly/1N2l5Th ). The resolution has no power to change Kelley’s decision but indicates sentiment among the student body.

Kelley said “North Dakota” is an identity that already exists - not a nickname. Student Sen. Chase Johnson said “North Dakota” appears to be a popular candidate among voters and should be considered.

“I think it’s something we need to get right, no matter how sometimes we feel we’ve been talking about this forever,” he said.

UND’s former nickname, “Fighting Sioux,” was deemed offensive by the NCAA and was retired three years ago, along with the school’s American Indian head logo.

A committee submitted five potential new nicknames in July - Roughriders, North Stars, Fighting Hawks, Nodaks and Sundogs. UND students, faculty and staff; school alumni and retirees; donors; and athletic event season ticket holders will decide on a new nickname in online voting next month.

“It’s definitely a process that’s worn down a lot of people,” Johnson said. “But it’s also something very important.”

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