An administrator at the College of Lake County in Illinois is threatening to suspend the community college’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter over using a Sopranos-themed flyer to advertise an upcoming campus lecture by Governor Scott Walker.
Director of Student Activities and Inclusion Zachary Clark, who describes himself on LinkedIn as a “change agent,” sent an email to YAF chapter leaders claiming that every aspect of the flyer’s design is in violation of intellectual property laws.
Clark took issue with the chapter’s use of the “Mobsters” font, for which the chapter purchased a license to use, the fair use of a background image from The Sopranos, and the parody use of union leaders’ images.
Clark also told students that they must remove any references to the college’s name and likeness if they would like to keep using the “Mobsters” font, which contains “weapon imagery.”
“You may not refer in any way to the institution on your advertising if using weapon imagery,” he wrote in the email.
After confirming with Young America’s Foundation’s legal counsel that Clark’s allegations are baseless and unfounded, CLC YAF leader Erin Kelley responded to the administrator asking why he has never objected to other student organizations’ use of sexually obscene imagery and fair use stock photos.
Clark responded by threatening “consequences, up to and including a suspension or revocation of the organization’s registered status” unless the chapter ceased use of the design.
“They have consistently approved the promotional materials of leftist departments and student organizations. But when our conservative student organization makes a flyer, the administrators will look for any little violation to charge us with, even if no policy violation exists,” Kelley told the New Guard.
In order to avoid a suspension just days ahead of YAF President Governor Scott Walker’s Thursday evening lecture, the chapter reluctantly decided to take down its flyers and social media posts featuring the Sopranos-themed design.
“Free speech should be revered on college campuses, yet it is most at risk there these days. Instead of debating ideas that they might disagree with, radical administrators seem to want to shut the discussion down. That should never happen in a free society – particularly at a government-run institution,” Governor Walker told the New Guard after learning of the situation.