A group of students at the University of North Dakota are in hot water after photos surfaced of them at an outdoor party in shirts that read “Siouxper Drunk”–that being a spoof of the school’s Fighting Sioux logo.
Photos of the shirts quickly went viral on social media sites and communities like Instagram and Facebook. The photos quickly caught the school’s attention prompting further backlash from some parents and students. The students wore the shirts as part of an off-campus event called “Springfest.” Some of the students and UND President Robert Kelley all issued apologies for offending anyone but some Native American awareness groups are pushing the school to take further action. American Indian Student Services Director Leigh Jeanotte told reporters, “Until there is a statement, until there is action, true action to say that this is wrong, hurtful and it shouldn’t be continued, it’s going to just keep going on and on and on.”
It feels like taking disciplinary action against the kids would be a bit overkill. After all, they clearly weren’t trying to make fun of Native American people. They were making fun of the school’s mascot, which happens to be a “Fighting Sioux.” If UND’s mascot was a honey badger or a banana slug and they still wore the “Siouxper Drunk” shirts, then they might have a stronger point because there would be no doubt what their intentions were with their shirts. Those who are protesting the shirts and demanding that more action be taken should address their concerns at the school and get them to change the mascot. Besides, is this really the most important problem facing our college campuses today? Raising awareness about offensive fashion statements are just below “Are our students’ textbook’s artistically decorative enough?” in terms of overall importance.