University in Ohio ends Indian logo on merchandise

Oxford, Ohio (AP) January 2011

Miami University in Ohio will no longer allow its Indian-head logo to be used on merchandise sold on or off campus, university officials said last week.

Miami has told merchandising companies the logo will no longer be available for reproduction after the current supply of merchandise is sold.

University trustees voted in 1996 to stop using the name Redskins as its athletic nickname, citing respect for the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma. The school adopted the current RedHawks nickname in 1997, but allowed limited use of a logo incorporating an Indian head and the beveled letter “M” on some apparel and in some athletic areas as a “heritage mark” related to the school’s history.

Respect for the tribe and a need to move toward more RedHawks traditions were reasons for the decision to stop using the logo, university officials said.

“It’s time to move on,” said Paul Allen, Miami’s director of business services.

Allen said he did not know whether the logos on walls at the football stadium and the hockey arena would be removed.

The executive director of the Miami University Alumni Association, Ray Mock, said his office has received a handful of e-mails from disappointed alumni, and some students questioned the decision, the Dayton Daily News reported.

“I understand why they’re doing it, but it’s part of the heritage of Miami. And by doing away with it, they’re losing history,” Miami sophomore Taylor Lewis said.

Some students thought the use of the logo on some apparel and in some sports areas sent mixed messages, Bobbe Burke, coordinator for off-campus affairs and Miami Tribe relations, told the newspaper.

Miami was named for the Miami Indians who once lived in what is now southwest Ohio. The university has said the tribe had asked the school to stop using the 66-year-old name over concerns that some people perceive it as a racial slur.

The change came about a decade before the NCAA in 2005 and 2006 listed 19 schools with American Indian mascots and images it considered “hostile and abusive,” banning them from postseason play pending name changes.

North Dakota was the nation’s last college to challenge the NCAA. The school reached an agreement with the organization last year to drop the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo.