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Paper name ruffles feathers

Feb. 23, 2001

Issue of contention is use of 'Baylor' in publication's name



Freedom of the press is one of the fundamental requirements of democracy. Baylor students are dealing with the fine line between trademark laws and this freedom.

The Baylor Review, developed and directed by Baylor students, is a newspaper that has been asked to drop the Baylor name due to a reputed trademark violation.

The Review is associated with the Texas Review Society, which helps fund conservative Texas newspapers such as The Houston Review, The Austin Review, The Aggie Review and The Conscience Review (San Antonio).

The paper began publication in September. After distributing four papers, The Review was asked to cease using the Baylor name.

'We were first notified two weeks after the January issue through a faculty adviser to take the Baylor name off our publication because of a conflict of interest,' The Review associate editor Chris Allen said.

The Review also received a letter from Baylor's legal council, Fulbright & Jaworski, LLP, asking The Review to discontinue using the Baylor trademarked and domain names used by the publication.

The letter states that the university believes that the use of the Baylor name misleadingly suggests that the publication is associated with or endorsed by Baylor University; and cannot permit others to use its' marks in a manner that is likely to confuse the public.

The predecessor to The Review, the Libertas was also in an incessant battle with Baylor.

'Our goal here is not to cause problems,' Allen said. 'We are afraid to get the stigma of the Libertas. We are trying to be friendly and careful, not to stir any troubled waters.'

The publication is not a stranger to controversy. The January issue headlines with a story concerning the much-debated Michael Polanyi Center. The backside of the paper has eight letters from Baylor biology professors to U.S. Rep. Mark Souder.

'It's almost impossible to not offend people, but the purpose is not to offend,' Allen said.

'The Review is in no way trying to attack The Lariat,' Allen said. 'We are just trying to do the things that The Lariat can't do. We are a political paper, not trying to criticize, just to be more of a constructive criticism vehicle.'

Baylor's University Communications and Media Committee will meet with The Review after spring break, Melissa Essary, a Baylor law school professor and committee chairwoman, said.

'We will look at past issues and a mock-up of the new [paper],' Essary said.

The student handbook has a section dedicated to all student publications.

According to the student handbook, an application must be submitted to the Student Activities Board. The application is then sent for review to the Communications Media Committee, then a recommendation is sent to two members of the administration for final approval.

This section of the handbook will be the guideline to the committee's decision, Essary said.

'The main thing about the committee meeting is to grant permission as to whether we can distribute on campus,' Joseph Keillor, a Los Fresnos junior and The Review editor in chief.

'The purpose of the paper is to educate people about Texas' politics [the conservative philosophy] and campus politics,' Keillor said. 'A lot of our campus politics will be non-partisan.'

Allen said they 'are going to work with the administration to come up with a name that works for both parties.'