The Engineering Undergraduate Society of McGill University (EUS) has run into problems with the administration over the use of the McGill name in its logo, which they have been employing without University authorization.
This is not the first time that the use of the McGill logo among student groups has come under scrutiny from the administration. Frosh, SSMU, and MUS, among others, have also been subject to pressure from the University demanding they remove any ambiguity from their title concerning who is providing services.
The EUS has been using the McGill logo for over a year, but this is the first time they have received official attention regarding their allegedly unauthorized actions.
Complaints first manifested in an email from McGill’s Secretariat office, and later in the form of poster tear-downs in the McConnell Engineering building last week. In an interview with The Daily, EUS President Josh Redel described the poster tear-downs, which the Secretariat had sanctioned because they sported the McGill logo, as “immature,” and unlikely to lead to conciliatory talks.
Since these events, discussion between the two parties and Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning) Morton Mendelson, who is also involved in this issue, have stagnated.
In an interview with The Daily, Mendelson explained that he was unaware of the poster tear-downs, and said he is “willing to have a conversation” about the issue. He stated that he is waiting for the EUS to propose other avenues of conciliation besides asserting their right to use the name in the logo.
According to Mendelson, the EUS is violating a rule that has been in place for some twenty years regarding the respective uses of the McGill name and logo. He stressed that there are two disparate issues: the EUS has permission to use the McGill name in their title, but cannot “use a logo that is similar to the McGill logo.”
Mendelson expained that the EUS is demanding to be treated differently from other student organizations that don’t use the McGill name in their logos.
Speaking on behalf of the EUS executive, Redel explained that the logo-name division makes the university appear selective about what they do and do not want to be associated with.
“It’s sad to me that [McGill] doesn’t want to be associated with [the EUS],” Redel said. He explained that, with all the positive work the EUS does for McGill students, being able to use the McGill name in their logo seems like a natural step in having a mutually beneficial relationship with the University.
Mendelson acknowledged that the University hasn’t been negatively impacted by the EUS’ use of the McGill logo, but explained that if guidelines are not respected consistently, it becomes easy to lose oversight of how the logo is being used and with what it can be associated.
He added that societies using the McGill name in their logo results in conflation of who is providing which services and activities, referring to the semantic subtleties that have to be observed.
Mendelson explained that “of McGill University” is acceptable because it implies students from McGill are the ones managing the club, while “McGill Services,” for instance, suggests that the university itself is providing the services.
Going forward, Redel explained that he thinks the “fairly static” situation will persist until the EUS’s Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) is up for review in less than two years. In the meantime, he stated that the EUS doesn’t believe its use of the McGill name violates their MoA.
The EUS is currently investigating the legalities of the issue as well as whether or not investigation into the enterprise will be monetarily worthwhile.