Monday, June 12, 2006

Look who's driving. 

Via El Chad and Hugh Hewitt, a blistering letter to the NCAA from North Dakota president Charles Kupchella that says "we're going to the mattresses" over the mascot issue. In its second paragraph:
Despite some of the hard-edged language I have had to use in this letter, I bear no animosity toward any of the NCAA committee members or staff, who, I am certain, are all good people. I suspect that a few people were the driving force and that the issue took on an organizational life of its own. I�m sure that those doing the pushing were motivated by personal conviction. What ever the origin, what emerged was, unfortunately, a kind of organizational self-righteousness. [emphasis added]
Here's one of the few people driving that bus. Our university president, Roy Saigo, has been adamant about removing the mascot, making it a point of his administration since its start in 2000. And in case there's any mistake, here's another indicating continued pride over his role. He provides the whole timeline (or more accurately, uses an organ of the university's affirmative action office to do so.) Shortened up:

March 15, 2001 -- Draft proposal for resolution of support for the elimination of American Indian mascots, nicknames and logos by members of the National Collegiate Athletic Association sent from St. Cloud State University President Roy H. Saigo to Patricia P. Cormier, chair, Division II Presidents Council, NCAA, urging consideration of the issue for the purpose of developing constructive methods of bringing about change.

January 28, 2002 -- President Saigo makes presentation on the use of American Indian mascots to the NCAA Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee.

October 2002 -- NCAA Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee presents its report on the use of American Indian Mascots in Intercollegiate Athletics to the NCAA Executive Committee Subcommittee on Gender and Diversity Issues.

December 2003 -- SCSU President Roy Saigo is elected to serve on the NCAA Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee.

Aug-Oct. 2004-- NCAA national office staff develops materials for self-study. NCAA engages in process to establish criteria for NCAA championships sites, venues, institutions participating in championships and references to American Indian mascots. Schools and conferences notified of the need for self-analysis.

November 2004 -- Thirty-three schools asked to submit self evaluations to NCAA to determine the extent, if any, of the use of Native American imagery or references on their campuses.

June 2005 -- MOIC develops recommendation to the Executive Committee Subcommittee on Gender and Diversity Issues.

August 5, 2005 -- Executive Committee issues guidelines for use of Native American mascots at NCAA championship events and approved recommended best practices for schools who continue to use Native American mascots, nicknames and imagery in their intercollegiate athletic programs. Eighteen colleges and universities continue to use Native American imagery or references and are subject to new policies.
That the beginning of the timeline points to some letter sent by a previous president in 1993 is meaningless, since there were two other presidents between that fellow and Saigo.

Our campus has long had protests whenever UND comes to town, for any of the major sporting events (I doubt they picket gymnastics and wrestling, but I've never looked.) Other schools have of course signed on to this, but it has to be clear that it has been a few guys starting this, and at the head of that pack has been the president of a competing school in UND's athletic conference.