Hoeven says he supports Indian rep on UND search committee 6-29-07

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Gov. John Hoeven supports adding an American Indian member to the committee that will recruit a new president for the University of North Dakota, a spokesman says.

Don Larson said Hoeven called Board of Higher Education President John Q. Paulsen on Monday to voice his support. Paulson said that at the time of the call he already was in the process of reversing his earlier decision not to add an Indian member.

“I get lots of advice from lots of people, and I appreciate every time I get advice from the governor or the Indian Affairs Commission or both,” he said. “So, I don't want to belittle their advice in any way. But I was already in the process of clearly thinking this through in a way that was taking me in a direction away from my original decision.”

Paulsen earlier this month had said he had “absolute confidence in the committee to choose a president without regard to race, color or gender.”

Hoeven also suggested Paulsen seek the advice of United Tribes Technical College President David Gipp on a suitable choice for the new committee member. Gipp initially began the call for an Indian member on the search committee.

Paulsen said he has discussed the matter with Gipp. Paulsen has scheduled a telephone conference call board meeting for Tuesday to discuss the issue.

Current UND President Charles Kupchella is retiring next year.

Some Indians oppose UND's “Fighting Sioux” athletics nickname. The NCAA has barred UND from hosting postseason tournaments because of the name, which the association has deemed “hostile and abusive.” UND is challenging the decision in court.