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Despite mixed feelings, UND students express relief at end of nickname voting

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Students at the University of North Dakota have mixed reactions to the Wednesday announcement of Fighting Hawks over Roughriders as the new UND nickname, but agreed they're relieved the voting is over.

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Students at the University of North Dakota have mixed reactions to the Wednesday announcement of Fighting Hawks over Roughriders as the new UND nickname, but agreed they're relieved the voting is over.

Matt Amundson, who grew up in Grand Forks and now attends UND as a sophomore, said he's heard about the nickname disagreement for years.

"We knew change was coming," Amundson said.

Amundson, who was wearing a UND hockey sweater as he ate lunch in the Memorial Union Wednesday, said he's not against the Fighting Hawks decision. In fact, he said he's "indifferent" to the decision of Fighting Hawks.

"I'm glad they finally picked a name," Amundson said.

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Other students weren't surprised by the choice of Fighting Hawks, since it was the frontrunner in all three nickname votes this fall.

"I wasn't surprised, based on the other voting," said Ken Dejvongsa, a junior, who prefers Fighting Hawks over Roughriders.

"We're happy that it was Fighting Hawks, but we'd prefer it be Fighting Sioux," Madeleinne Zacher, a junior, said.

Zacher said she likes the fact that it's Fighting Hawks, emphasizing the word "fighting," since it's similar to Fighting Sioux.

"It's kind of keeping Fighting Sioux alive," Nikki Nguyen said.

While some students are indifferent to the nickname or in favor of Fighting Hawks, others wish another nickname had been chosen.

"I'd rather it be nothing," sophomore Ryan Bonsen said.

Thomas O'Reskie agreed, pointing to the proposed name of UND/North Dakota, which was omitted from the original October ballot.

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"If it had been on the original ballot, that would've won," O'Reskie said, referring to UND/North Dakota.

Bonsen, O'Reskie and Morgan Mathison agree that even with the new nickname, Fighting Sioux will still linger on campus and in the community.

Mathison feels Fighting Hawks does not fit the original qualifications required for a nickname on the October ballot: inspiring, unforgettable, honorable and representative of the region.

But Mathison said she is just glad the nickname vote is over after three rounds of voting.

"Whatever the final name was, someone wasn't going to like it," Mathison said.

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