Tuesday, July 22

Barack Chalk Jayhawk

It appears a new T-shirt at the University of Kansas, has caused a bit of a stir around the campus. The T-shirt shows Governor Sebelius holding a T-shirt with the words "Barack Chalk Jayhawk," on the front. The idea for the shirt came after a campaign event in which  Obama referred to Kansas supporters as "Barack Chalk Jayhawks.' The slogan was a play off of the Universities trademark "Rock Chalk Jayhawk".

The Universities Young Democrats club was granted permission to print 100 T-shirts with this slogan as long as they agreed that only club members could obtain and wear the shirts. The University is now concerned that it might look like it is supporting Obama, after a photograph of Governor Sebelius was taken of her holding the T-shirt during a campaign event in May.

The Athletic department which monitors the use of the trademark has stepped  in and has stopped the club for further production of the T-shirts. Controversy over whether the club should have been given permission has arisen. Associate director for the Athletic department Jim Marchiony  says that permission to print the shirts should probably not have been given. He noted that state law prohibits universities from using their trademarks to endorse political candidates or positions.

"We're a state university," he said. "We should never be used to further a political candidacy."

Others on campus seemed to think that students should be allowed to use their school logo to some degree.

As for Governor Sebelius, she says she's proud to own the T-shirt. While it's unknown if she has actually worn the T-shirt yet, one could speculate that she's waiting for just the right moment...like when she becomes a "Vice Barack Hawk".

1 comment:

Newsy said...

Interesting post, but...

Oh... this is much ado about nothing! Allowing them to create shirts for their club is not that big of a deal AS LONG as they would grant the College Republican group the same right to the logo. They are a collegiate political group made up of students for heavens sake... not employees of the university.

BUT... if the university is extremely and truly concerned about being perceived as Pro-Obama (or liberal for that matter) they should really be more concerned about what their professors are teaching rather than what a political club is creating.

Having professors that are approved and tenured by your university who teach things such as no moral absolution and department heads who won't allow their professors to effectively promote all sides of an issue are much more of a tell tell sign of what political philosophy your university endorses than a t-shirt ever will.