Original submissions only in logo contest
Washington Schools Superintendent Mike Jorgensen said today that he has been working with DePaul University for the past week and said that the university appreciates everything the district has done – except for the district stealing the university’s logo.
Jorgensen said that the district and the university have decided that Washington has one year to remove the demon head logo, which is essentially a copyrighted secondary logo used by the DePaul Blue Demons, from all structures. He said as long as no new uniforms are made with the logo, the district can use its normal rotation. He said that the logo will be phased out within in the next five years.
“Basically, what they said is they didn’t want to put us in financial difficulty,” Jorgensen said. “Obviously if we had to replace all those uniforms at one time it would be a huge expense. They appreciate the fact that we were honest and upfront about the trademark violation.”
This morning, DePaul University referred all questions about the copyright infringement to Jorgensen. Jorgensen said that the university is not going to take any legal action against the district.
The next Washington School District administrative team meeting is Nov. 14, at which time Jorgensen said that he will discuss the phasing out of the logo.
During the Oct. 10 school board meeting, two school board members questioned the appropriateness of the logo. Heidi Vittetoe and Patty Roe both said that they felt the logo didn’t convey a positive image of the district. During discussion Vittetoe referred to the logo as “satanic.” The logo is in use on uniforms of most athletic and extracurricular teams in the district. Later that week, Jorgensen said that he contacted De Paul to determine if the logo could be used. DePaul replied that the district should cease and desist use of the logo.
Since he released word that the logo was being phased out, he said that he had received pictures of logos from people in the community. He said that several had obviously been jokes, including one that was obviously a Hawkeye logo with demon horns.
Jorgensen announced that the new logo will be determined by a contest would be open to the student body and community to create a new logo to be used. The school board will screen the logos for appropriateness.
On Nov. 14, the district will begin screening the submitted logos. The logos that pass the screening will be presented to the School Improvement Advisory Committee (SIAC) and narrowed down to the final 10. The student body will then hold elections to determine the next logo. The new logo is expected to be chosen by the end of the year. Jorgensen said the winning logo would receive $100 of his own donation.
“I really would like to see something completely original and get something we could use for a long time,” Jorgensen said.
He said that the logo was in use before he arrived in the school district. He didn’t know how its use had begun. The school board had never officially adopted it, which was the reason for the discussion at the last school board meeting. In talking with athletic director Bryce Smeins, Jorgensen said that the athletic department was under the assumption that it was an original logo.
Jorgensen stressed that there is no discussion to discontinue using the mascot name Demons.
“We’re not talking about changing the mascot,” Jorgensen said. “If you want to talk about a huge expense – we would have to change all the score boards, all the gym floors and all the various things we have Demons on. You are talking about a million-dollar expense. Plus the history of the mascot.”
A past logo called the Flying W had to be phased out about six years ago after the University of Wisconsin claimed copyright infringement.