Racist Chant: Campus of Respect?

A very particular group of people continue a chant that has been deemed hateful.

If you go to any North Dakota State football game at the Fargodome, it is inevitable that you will hear the chant. You know the one.

“Sioux suck shit.”

The fact that this chant persists is a nightmare. Last year an article I wrote, “The Herd’s Chant: Racism in the Dome,” received over 15,000 reads and made the front page of The Forum. WDAY did a piece on it, talking to the then student body President and Vice President, Spencer Moir and Anuj Teotia, who both stated Student Government’s disfavor with the chant.

All of the publicity got President Dean Bresciani to write an email to students. Titled “Campus of Respect” and sent on Oct. 14, 2016, Bresciani told students,

“We suspect people are continuing this chant out of a misplaced sense of tradition, and we are asking any who do so to re-evaluate their participation. At orientation, we welcome all students into the community of scholars. As part of that community, we respect the rights — and responsibilities — of freedom to express and share ideas. We challenge anyone using hateful, thoughtless language to reflect on that language. We believe that people continuing to use these chants are not understanding that these chants are hurtful; they do not reflect the aspiration of NDSU to be a welcoming community.”

Thirteen months later, that same story rings true. Somehow we have let a tradition make our student section at games sound uneducated and frankly, racist.

It is embarrassing as a student here to have us sound like that. It is an embarrassment to the university.

With all of the things happening right now, it seems like the best bet is waiting for certain people to graduate. Before it was about education, but now, it is disdain for a particular section of people who refuse to understand how hurtful their words are. Native Americans are some of the poorest treated people in this nation and after we have driven a pipeline through their water source we continue to chant that one of their tribes “suck(s) shit.” That is disgraceful, and, as a university, we should refuse to tolerate it.

Particular groups of people refuse to see this as a problem. Instead, they cite tradition as an excuse to continue their racist chant and actively choose to ignore our ugly history.

The yell leaders, who distanced themselves from the article when it was originally posted, are now under the watchful eyes of Student Government, something that Mason Wenzel says gives them “a lot of leverage.”

“There is no formula to solve this issue,” Wenzel told us that graduation may be the only path to ending the chant. Student Government sees this as a problem and has seen it as a problem for a while. It seems like The Spectrum has the same complaint every year, yet nothing changes.

It is embarrassing. Our students look awful by continuing this chant.

The announcer, Dan Michaels who has been announcing games for 17 years, according to Wenzel is very hard to get ahold of. Since he has not changed the way of announcing first downs, it seems like the chant has persisted.

According to Wenzel, it has been attempted to sway the student section away from their chant. The replacement chant, ‘Go Big Green,’ has had difficulty catching on. According to Wenzel, the yell leaders have stopped saying anything about first downs all together.

Sadly though, the chant continues. Next home game it will for sure be heard and the backlash from this article will be swift. I refuse to ignore this issue though because I have pride in where I go to school and know that what is happening is wrong.

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