As 2008 presidential campaigns come to IU, some administrators are raising questions about the impact of the school's logo appearing alongside candidates and speakers.
The IU logo in question, the IU trident, first raised concern when it appeared in newspaper photos behind former President Bill Clinton, who recently spoke on campus on behalf of Sen. Hillary Clinton, said IU Chancellor Ken Gros Louis.
Since the appearance, it has appeared at other events, including a Dave Matthews concert sponsored by presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama and during Obama's appearance at the women's Little 500 race Friday.
"I think it's just confusing to the public for a political candidate making a speech with an IU logo behind him or her, because it gives the impression that the University is supporting the candidate," Gros Louis said.
Gros Louis said he does not believe the logo should appear, if possible, at any political events.
"Indiana University cannot endorse any candidates, and never would, but it is our policy to welcome candidates and their representatives to the campus because we believe it is good for the students to have access to the candidates and discussions of the issues, so all campaigns are welcome," IU spokesman Larry MacIntyre said.
Gros Louis said it's not just the logo appearing at political events that might raise concerns; it's associating a prominent person with the University. He said in addition to the logo, IU representatives who are affiliated with a candidate might create the impression that IU endorses them.
"When Bobby Knight was here, he did a number of commercials for various entities, but I don't ever recall the IU logo appearing behind him," he said.
IU doesn't endorse one party, said Dick McKaig, dean
"The University wouldn't endorse, any particular candidate and so if there were an ad for a candidate our logo wouldn't be appropriate," he said.
McKaig said if a candidate visited an area where there are IU logos, it's more of a location issue. He said it mostly sends a message that IU is an active political campus.
"It might be Obama this week, but it could be Bill Clinton or Hillary Clinton next week, and it might be John McCain after that. ... Over the course of time, it seems to me that the important point is that students are able to invite any speakers they choose and that the University doesn't discriminate between parties," McKaig said.
If an IU logo appeared in a campaign advertisement, IU's trademark office would file cease and desist orders. This could be followed by judicial action if the cease and desist orders are ignored, he said.
"The only time we would prohibit them from using the IU logo is in a campaign ad, but as long as it's just news coverage, then that's all right," MacIntyre said. He said the appearances with Bill Clinton, Dave Matthews and Obama were just "understandable coincidences."
© 2008 Indiana Daily Student via U-WIRE