Opinion: New law to save 'Fighting Sioux' is unconstitutional

"Passage of the legislation to require UND to keep the “Fighting Sioux” logo has put the State Board of Higher Education in a historic quandary. It must now capitulate to the political branches of government, i.e. the legislative and executive, or fight for its constitutional role in state government.

Even though the debate in the Legislature wandered into the merits and demerits of the logo itself, the issue before the Legislature always has been clear and simple: unconstitutional invasion into the jurisdiction of the board.

Despite the hours of rhetoric, the logo matter is peripheral to this more fundamental issue.

Article VIII of the constitution is clear on the authority of the Board:

“The said state board of higher education shall have full authority over the institutions under its control….the state board shall have the power to delegate to its employees details of administration….the board shall have full authority to organize and reorganize the work of each institution….and do each and everything necessary and proper for the efficient and economic administration of said state educational institutions.”

The language leaves little doubt that the “Fighting Sioux” bill is unconstitutional. Certainly members of the Legislature are sufficiently literate to read and understand these direct constitutional mandates.

Even so, they proceeded to pass the bill, and the governor made himself a party to the illegitimate process by signing it."

Get the Story:
LLOYD OMDAHL: Higher-ed board must fight unconstitutional law (The Grand Forks Herald 3/21)

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