Miami University students and student organizations identify themselves as RedHawks, but until now the use of the word RedHawk has been reserved exclusively for Intercollegiate Athletics (ICA). The Resident Hall Association (RHA) sought earlier in the year to use the words “red” and hunt” in their logo with a generic hawk graphic in between. Their request was denied, but may other organizations have used the RedHawk name and logo in instances that are unsanctioned but go unpunished. Now, university policy will allow student organizations to apply to use the word RedHawk with approval, but the RedHawk logo will continue to be used exclusively by ICA.
The editorial board of The Miami Student is pleased student organizations will be able to use the word RedHawk, but we feel strongly the logo should also be opened up for wider use.
In an atmosphere of flagging school pride and sporadic student attendance of athletic events, it seems strangely elitist and counter-productive to reserve the use of the RedHawk logo for ICA. Although oversight is necessary to preserve the currency of the logo, it is unreasonable for ICA to claim exclusive rights to its use. It is a symbol of university pride, one that student organizations have just as much a claim to as athletic teams. The exclusivity only serves to isolate ICA and dampen school spirit. All students are RedHawks — not just athletes.
At the very least, club sports teams that are not redundant with a varsity team should be able to use the RedHawk logo. They represent our university at meets and competitions around the country, and it is insulting to the club athletes not to be able to bear the RedHawk logo.
The process for approval of designs for student organizations must also be better publicized. The current system inadvertently rewards organizations that fail to go through the proper approval procedure. Past misuse of the RedHawk logo has not been properly dealt with, and many organizations seem to be unaware of the design approval process. Paul Allen, director of business services, should coordinate with Associated Student Government (ASG) to better publicize logo-use policies. Notification could take the form of e-mail, or could be more prominently included in the information given to the presidents and treasurers of student organizations. Officers of student organizations should also take responsibility for going through the proper channels for licensing graphics. The logo is representative of the identity of all students, faculty, staff and alumni, and therefore should not be misused.
Allowing student organizations to use the word RedHawk is a long overdue improvement. Allowing a wider range of organizations to use the RedHawk logo would be a logical next step.