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Sorority Apologizes For ‘Insensitive’ Display of School Spirit

The Gamma Phi Beta sorority at the University of North Dakota has apologized for what has been deemed an “insensitive” and “offensive” display of school spirit, and its members face sensitivity training and possible sanctions.

The sorority sisters hung a banner outside their house that referenced the school’s former “Fighting Sioux” nickname and logo; it stated: “You can take away our mascot but you can’t take away our pride – Mens 2014 NCAA Frozen Four” – in support of the school’s hockey team in the NCAA Frozen Four in Philadelphia this week.

But some on the campus quickly dubbed the banner “insensitive,” including UND President Robert Kelley, who chided the young women for putting it up during the university’s “Time Out Week,” a campus-wide celebration of Native American culture and history. Making matters worse, the Gamma Phi Beta sorority house is next to the American Indian Student Services building.UND-Inside

“The banner and the timing of the banner … demonstrated a lack of sensitivity,” Kelley wrote in a statement. “I do appreciate that the banner was quickly removed. UND has a long-standing respect for the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment, which we teach in many of our academic programs. Along with that, we have a critical responsibility to promote respect and civility within our campus community.”

In a statement posted on Facebook on Wednesday, UND’s Gamma Phi Beta chapter apologized for the “lack of respect displayed by hanging an insensitive banner” outside their house.

“We cannot express to you how terrible our members feel that our actions have caused so many hurt feelings,” the statement continued. “We are aware of the negative feelings this has caused and would like to offer our assistance to help take a stand against future insensitivities on our campus.”

However the apology will not be enough.

In a statement released Tuesday, the national Gamma Phi Beta organization condemned the banner and apologized to the UND community, promising to “provide sensitivity training … on the importance of cultural appreciation,” and adding they may impose sanctions on the UND chapter.

The University of North Dakota retired its “Fighting Sioux” nickname and Indian-head logo in 2012 following criticism from the public and the NCAA, which deemed it offensive.

But the lack of a UND mascot in this week’s Frozen Four has not gone unnoticed by the sports world, either.

In a story published Thursday on Philly.com headlined “ ‘Fighting Sioux’ debate leaves University of North Dakota nameless in Frozen Four,” students and alumni of the university told the news organization that “the consensus seemed to be that the (mascot) issue was sensationalized by outsiders; that those in the community felt the logo was always used in high regard, and admit that it was pitfalls on the part of a few students that toxified what was supposed to be respectful, such as a ‘cowboys and Indians’ party held in 2008, and a banner put up on campus this past weekend reading, ‘You can take away our mascot but you can’t take away our pride!'”

The same sorority that put up the banner this week was the one that hosted the “cowboys and Indians” party, the Associated Press reported.

College Fix contributor Andrew Desiderio is a student at The George Washington University.

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IMAGES: Main – Mark H. Anbinder / Flickr (Inside – Facebook screenshot)

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  • Obstinate

    The sorority should have told the university (and, particularly, the university president) to drop dead. Not everyone agrees that the “Fighting Sioux” moniker is inappropriate, and the sorority members were merely expressing their views on the matter. The fact that this occurred in close proximity to the American Indian Student Services building and that it occurred during Native American cultures week is particularly appropriate, since it is these very Native American groups who expressed their manufactured outrage over the use of the “Fighting Sioux” mascot. Further, the national sorority should also be told to go f*** themselves over their interference over this matter. If I were a member of this sorority I would refuse indoctrination and tell all comers that I have a right to express my views on these matters.

    • Chapmac

      “Lack of sensitivity”is neo-NAZI Newspeak for failure to lick boots and pretend to like it.

  • Thomas Alan


  • Shep Schultz

    “…the banner … demonstrated a lack of sensitivity…”
    The hand-wringing-righteous-indignation-thought-police once again demonstrated a complete lack of tolerance and humor.

  • Chapmac

    Perhaps it is time the Greeks stopped kowtowing to the thought police and let the NewSpeak NAZIs go pound sand, since they evidently don’t had enough real work to justify the slice of student tuition and fees they take. Free people should treat nagging totalitarians as the public nuisances they are.

  • Tex Mexico

    What the story leaves out (as do most) is that the majority of the Sioux nation approves of the mascot. Most of the tribes voted and agreed, but one tribe, wanting to be perpetually aggrieved, refused to even hold a vote after polling showed that that tribe’s members would also vote to approve the mascot.