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Controversy over UND sorority's banner

April 10, 2014 - Andrea Johnson
Sorority members at the University of North Dakota Gamma Phi Beta chapter are in hot water over a banner they posted in reference to the now defunct UND Fighting Sioux mascot.

According to The Pioneer Press, the sorority's banner read: "You can take away our mascot but you can't take away our pride!" The banner has been deemed insensitive to American Indians and the chapter was pressured to take it down. The Gamma Phi Beta national chapter issued an apology and said the sorority members will be sent to sensitivity training.

UND's president also expressed dismay. "UND has a long-standing respect for the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment, which we teach in many of our academic programs," UND President Robert Kelley said in a statement. "Along with that, we have a critical responsibility to promote respect and civility within our campus community. We teach and model respect for others. It is imperative that, through our actions, we demonstrate respect for all." The story can be found at—25526653/und-sorority-again-accused-insensitivity-american-indians

I'm not particularly interested in rehashing the controversy over UND's nickname and its Indian head mascot, which was considered offensive by many American Indians and has now been dropped. After more than two decades of controversy, it's probably time for everyone to move on. While the sorority had a right to express its views, others on the campus also had a right to express theirs and the sorority members surely should have anticipated this kind of backlash.

Still, I also wonder what this kind of incident really says about free speech on today's college campuses.

Meanwhile, the saga continues at the University of California at Santa Barbara, where college students appear to have an interesting definition of "terrorism" and a disregard for the First Amendment.

Feminist studies associate professor Mireille Miller-Young is facing misdemeanor charges of assault, theft and vandalism after allegedly taking an anti-abortion protester's sign on March 4 and pushing and scratching the 16-year-old girl who followed her and tried to get it back. Thrin Short and about a dozen other protesters were in a designated "free speech" area on the university campus when the ruckus with Miller-Young and some of her students started.

Miller-Young's lawyer entered a not guilty plea on her behalf last week and her next court appearance is scheduled for May 1, according to the Santa Barbara Independent at

Students on the campus have signed a petition in support of Miller-Young which calls the young anti-abortion protester a "domestic terrorist." Sophomore feminist studies major Katherine Wehler told The College Fix that the demonstrators are "domestic terrorists" who terrorized the campus by showing graphic images of aborted fetuses and were "making us feel very unsafe on our campus." The petition has drawn more than 2,000 signatures in support of Miller-Young. The story can be found at

What do you think of the controversies at UND and the University of California-Santa Barbara?


Article Comments



Apr-22-14 4:31 PM

What do I think? I think that every time the System demands conformity of opinion and practice and doesn't get it, the System then does everything it can to take punitive action to silence and otherwise crush those who won't conform.

It's the System vs the People. With whom will you side?


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