University High School Charter

The stolen Uni logo

Cartoon by Jonathan Lucero

Our beloved school logo, a blue and orange split “U,” symbolizes University High in a simple, but recognizable way. The U invokes school pride and is one of the first things that people see and think of when the school is mentioned. Where has this logo of ours gone?

It started with the disappearance on Uni’s official website and led to the halt of the sale of apparel with the logo on it. The U has slowly vanished from existence without the slightest explanation. Ask an administrator and the topic is brushed off as if it is insignificant. Students have gone out and represented the school with this logo through sports teams and clubs; it had become one of the biggest symbols of school pride. We deserve to know why this logo is being taken away from us.

Principal Eric Davidson received an email from a University of Miami lawyer in January, bringing to attention the resemblance of the two logos, theirs being the same split U but with orange and green. Because the Uni logo was created and used without the permission of the University of Miami, Uni is being sued for copyright infringement and asked to phase out the logo by June 30. LAUSD lawyers are working with them to see if a resolution can be made. However, this news didn’t come as a complete shock to the administration as it may have to students.

“It’s not news,” says Principal Eric Davidson. “But because we never asked for permission upfront, now we have to ask for forgiveness.”

From a young age, the dishonor of taking someone else’s work without their permission is hammered into us. Just as we are taught to footnote and credit other’s words and works, our school should have done just the same. However, the U logo, the very symbol of our school, created by a Uni teacher and established in 2013, was stolen from a well-known university.

The University of Miami has a trademark for the split U, which protects the name and marks of their school. The school therefore requires that all individuals, organizations, departments and companies obtain prior approval before producing any products with the University of Miami logo. Their Office of Logo Licensing makes it their mission to ensure that the University receive proper commercial value for the use of its trademark and actively enforce the unauthorized use of their logo.

As a consequence of not obtaining approval, Uni is being forced to take down the U-logo that has been engraved into the heart of our school, from the newly constructed sports field to the remodeled basketball courts in the south gym. What does this teach Uni students about the morality of stealing others’ work and hoping to get away with it?

According to Davidson and other administrators, our stolen logo does not concern students because it has no impact on them. Students, however, may hold a different opinion as they pass the ball to their teammate with the U logo on their back.

Having our school’s very image taken away from us isn’t something that should be overlooked. Copyright infringement is a serious matter; something that shouldn’t be disregarded by students when completing assignments or projects. Rather than brushing the issue aside as though it were insignificant, the administration should acknowledge its wrongdoings and inform students of the serious consequences that come with stealing the works of others without permission.