UC-Davis Backs Down from Threatening Ayn Rand Club with ‘Criminal Punishment’

August 27, 2015

By Greg Piper at The College Fix

A little-known way for colleges to threaten students and faculty is by claiming their writing or activism violates the school’s trademarks.

This happened to a pro-marijuana club at Iowa State and a faculty blog critical of the Chicago State administration, as The College Fix has noted.

Several months after the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education wrote to the University of California-Davis to protest its punishment of a student club on trademark grounds, the school has backed down, FIRE said today.

What was the cardinal sin of the Ayn Rand Society at UC Davis? Identifying where it was based:

ARS contacted FIRE for help after the university’s Center for Student Involvement (CSI) demanded ARS change the URL of its Facebook page, which contained the letters “UCD.” The Center said the use violated CSI’s trademark policy, which warns that violators could face criminal punishment. After ARS reported that it could not change the URL, CSI instructed the group to delete the Facebook page entirely. When ARS refused to comply, the group lost its “good standing” status, including its listing on UC Davis’ student organization search page, as well as its ability to reserve campus meeting rooms and apply for funding and grants...

Schools: University of California, Davis Cases: University of California, Davis: Administrators Reverse Decision to Punish Student Club That Used University Name