Tuesday, December 18, 2007

No Sloshkosh T-shirts for Christmas?!

The university publicity machine has sent cease and desist e-mails to a UWO student who was selling Sloshkosh and UW-Zero t-shirts on the web.

As much as I have been a proponent of cleaning up the image of our fair institution, this seems like a heavy-handed tactic to me. Does anyone seriously believe that fewer t-shirts with funny slogans on them will make UWO a better place?

Trademarking the two terms and then threatening someone who is already using them with a lawsuits smacks of the worst use of copyright/trademark law by UWO. Obviously, the student doesn't have the resources to stand up to threats from a state institution. Unless he is particularly ambitious, it is not likely he is going to find someone with the knowledge and resources to push back.

Besides which, wouldn't using the two terms be protected by his right to free speech? At worst, they are parodies of the official slogan/logo of the university. How can the university claim ownership of them? I understand trademark rules are about business usage, but how can this be?

I am hoping Tony Palmeri will clear this up for me. He is our resident free-speech guru.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

University asks students for money for Sports Complex

I noticed this article on the University home page this morning. The Foundation has gone to the students for an additional $700,000 for the Oshkosh Sports Complex.

I wonder if this doesn't smack of desperation. I have heard Art complain about the problems of raising money for the OSC before. Is he turning to the students because the community seems to be tapped out for this project? There is a big gift from the Convention Bureau, so do we think there will be little more money to be given to finish the project?

Does the fact that students are going to have to pay for part of the sports complex bode well for the much larger amounts we have to raise for new building? Let's hope not!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Invasion of pick-a-prof.com

Rumor has it that pick-a-prof.com has expressed an interest in filing a request for SOS student evaluations and grade distributions for their website.

The OSA is considering whether to partner with the site in getting more data about professors and courses on-line.

The site itself looks a lot better than the snarky ratemyprofessor. I would be interested to see some of the information that pick-a-prof promises.

It sounds, however, like there is great fear among the professoriate that having this kind of information available will cause trouble. Various groups have been discussing ways to make it difficult for the website to get the information.

Personally, I am not particularly upset by the idea of having more information about our courses on the web. I suppose it might be bad to allow someone else make a profit from all the data that we collect and collate. Wouldn't it benefit students to know more about each of us before they enter the classroom?