SCSU student media win repeal of nickname ban

by Joanna Dornfeld

St. Cloud State University media won a small victory last week when SCSU Student Government rescinded a decision to restrict their use of American Indian nicknames and logos in publications and broadcasts.

However, a SCSU Student Government committee will follow up on the issue and present an alternative resolution soon, said Shaje Ganny, student government president.

“Even though they rescinded the motionÖfor us the issue hasn’t died,” said Christine Johnson, University Chronicle editor. “Someone else is taking up the fight.”

SCSU Student Government passed a motion Nov. 1 restricting the use of American Indian nicknames and logos in the student media. The media include university television and radio stations and the University Chronicle, the student newspaper.

According to the motion, the student government could file a complaint with the SCSU Code of Conduct Committee against any media that used an American Indian nickname or logo in a publication or broadcast two weeks after the motion was passed.

“There were serious concerns about freedom of the press issues,” said Nathan Church, SCSU Student Life and Development vice president.

Church encouraged the student government to rescind the motion at a meeting Nov. 7. Church, student government representatives, media representatives and students from the American Indian student group and the Mexican student group attended the meeting.

The administration sympathizes with the student groups, but does not want to infringe upon the First Amendment rights of the media, Church said.

SCSU has had a policy in place restricting the use of American Indian nicknames and logos for all university-contracted athletics event publications and broadcasts since 1993.

SCSU administration recommended the student government pass a similar motion voicing their concern about media using American Indian nicknames and logos, Church said.

“As far as authority, they don’t have the university’s backing,” Johnson said. “They probably will try and affect our budget in addressing that issue.”

The student government created an ad hoc committee to formulate a new motion to be presented to the larger body.

“I have a feeling we will be seeing a motion soon,” Ganny said.

Joanna Dornfeld welcomes your comments at [email protected]