UND President & Shirt Company Issue Statements Regarding ‘Siouxper Drunk’ Controversy
In light of the recent controversy surrounding the University of North Dakota and the students who wore t-shirts with the slogan 'Siouxper Drunk' during its year-end party, the school's president and the company responsible for printing the shirts have both issued statements.
UND President Robert Kelly issued the following statement on the school's Facebook page:
I was appalled to learn this weekend that a group of individuals had the poor judgment and lack of awareness and understanding to create and then wear T-shirts that perpetuated a derogatory and harmful stereotype of American Indians. The message on the shirts demonstrated an unacceptable lack of sensitivity and a complete lack of respect for American Indians and all members of the community.
These T-shirts were not worn at a UND function -- in fact, the event they are associated with is NOT a university event. They don't appear to have been worn on UND property, and we are not aware that the group represents any UND organization. UND has a responsibility to promote respect and civility within the campus community, and we have the responsibility and right to speak out against hateful behavior. As a University, we teach respect for others. It is imperative that, through our actions, we demonstrate respect for all.
I want to remind students that the University Counseling Center is available for appointments at 777-2127(http://und.edu/health-wellness/counseling-center/ ), and I want to remind faculty and staff that they can consult UND's Employee Assistance Plan (http://und.edu/finance-operations/human-resources/eap.cfm ) as needed.
Robert O. Kelley, President
Additionally, Andrew Weinstein of CustomInk, the company who printed the shirts, reached out to us and provided the following:
We are very sorry about this offensive design. CustomInk's business is focused on bringing people together in positive ways. We handle hundreds of thousands of custom t-shirt designs each year and have people review them to catch problematic content, including anything that's racially or ethnically objectionable, but we missed this one. We apologize for any pain or offense caused by this shirt, and we will continue to improve our review processes to make them better.
Both UND and CustomInk have faced a firestorm of negative backlash surrounding the incident.