Editor’s note: A previous version of this article stated that the memorandum of understanding included language on the use of the drum and feather logo. It does not include any wording on the drum and feather logo, and only covers the use of the Ute name.
The U reached a new agreement with the Ute tribe about the use of the Ute name yesterday after months of discussion.
The agreement also addresses the tribe’s request for more educational outreach to potential Ute tribe students.
U president David Pershing and the Ute Tribe Business Committee signed the memorandum at a ceremony held in Fort Duschene.
This is the biggest change to the updated memorandum of understanding, said Michele Mattsson of the U Board of Trustees. As part of this agreement, the U also promised to educate the public about the Ute tribe’s history.
“[Our future relationship with the Ute tribe will be] a little more public and a little more organized,” Mattsson said.
The U will also offer more scholarships for Ute students.
The decision to sign the memorandum comes after a tumultuous week in the diversity offices at the U, with resignations from the chief diversity officer for the Office of Equity and Diversity, Octavio Villalpando, and Enrique Aleman, assistant vice president for student diversity and equity.
The U drafted the first memorandum of understanding with the Ute tribe in 2005 after the NCAA introduced new restrictions to the use of tribal names as mascots. That agreement expired in 2009.
The memorandum will be in place for the next five years and will be available for review annually.
Previous discussion during this academic school year heavily surrounded the tribe’s desire for American Indian students to receive scholarships and tuition waivers from the U. At the ceremony, the U announced funding that will be given to American Indian student scholarships as well as scholarships specifically for those from the Ute tribe.
In addition, the tribe will also be appointing members in various positions at the U that will make relations between the school and the tribe easier, sucg as an advisor position that can council American Indian students in their college application pursuits. They will also offer American Indian tribe members the opportunity to attend sporting events and speak with athletes who have received scholarships from the U despite coming from underprivileged backgrounds.
Alex Cherry, a freshman in biology, thinks the agreement is a good common ground for what has in the past been a controversial issue.
“I think the Ute logo has had a long-standing tradition here at the U, so I personally like the idea of its continuation,” Cherry said. “Especially when it can serve the dual purpose of recruiting Ute tribe students who need the education.”