Senate candidate under fire for using U trademark

U administrators recently asked State Rep. Ross Romero, D-Utah, to discontinue use of a trademarked U symbol in campaign advertisements.

Romero, who is seeking election in Utah Senate District 7, used a white “Block U” logo in a campaign mailer and newspaper advertisement that ran in The Daily Utah Chronicle last week.

Administrators said they feared his use of the logo could be construed as a campaign endorsement.

“I and other officials at the U have been absolutely clear that the university does not endorse political candidates,” said University of Utah President Michael K. Young in an e-mail statement.

The statement also said the “Block U” logo cannot be used without the university’s permission because it is a trademarked insignia.

Romero said he never intended for the “Block U” to indicate endorsement from the U.

“I wanted to show my loyalty and appreciation for the U,” Romero said. “It was a error for us to have used the (symbol).”

Senate District 7 covers most of the U campus and much of the surrounding area. Former University of Utah President Bernie Machen was also quoted in a campaign mailer Romero sent to district residents.

The Salt Lake County Republican Party criticized Romero’s use of the U symbol.

“His actions are completely unacceptable, and Ross owes the alumni an apology,” said James Evans, chairman of the Salt Lake County Republican Party, to the Associated Press.

Salt Lake Tribune columnist Paul Rolly reported Monday that Thomas Wright, a Republican candidate running for the Utah House of Representatives, has also used the Block U on a campaign flier.

Romero said he heard that Wright was also using the symbol, but that he hadn’t seen the flier personally.

“Why is there not concern about (the Republicans’) own candidate being featured (with the ‘Block U’ logo)?” Romero asked.

Wright’s campaign could not be reached for comment Monday evening.