WSU says McMorris Rodgers needs to stop using university trademarked phrase

Flyers handed out during home games at Martin Stadium used ‘Go Cougs’ slogan


Aripirala Sai Ram | The Daily Evergreen

Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-WA, answers questions during a town hall at the Pioneer Center in Pullman on May 31. Rodgers is running for her seventh term as 5th District representative.

IAN SMAY, Evergreen reporter

WSU has asked the Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., campaign to stop using a trademarked university phrase on campaign flyers handed out during home football games at Martin Stadium this season.

Phil Weiler, vice president of marketing and communications for WSU, said the phrase “Go Cougs!” is a WSU trademark.

“The term ‘Go Cougs’ is a trademark of Washington State University and, as such, should not be used by a political campaign,” Weiler said via email. “I will be contacting the Cathy McMorris Rodgers campaign asking that they stop using WSU marks on their campaign literature, as we have done with other political campaigns.”

The flyers also had the Rodgers campaign logo and website on the same side as the phrase, with the Cougar football schedule on the other. Rodgers campaign spokesperson Jared Powell said they did not think there was an issue with the flyer as it did not contain a WSU logo.

“I’m not a copyright expert,” Powell said. “It doesn’t use their logo, it doesn’t say Washington State University anywhere.”

As of 1 p.m. Thursday, Powell said they had not been asked to cease using the materials. Weiler said in an email at about 4 p.m. that the university planned on contacting the campaign Thursday about the issue.

Powell could not be reached Thursday evening to confirm if they had been contacted by the university to remove the phrase from their materials.

The other political campaign referenced by Weiler is that of Rodgers’ opponent, Democratic challenger Lisa Brown. WSU asked Brown, a former WSU Spokane chancellor, to remove footage of a man wearing a hat with the university logo on it back in July. The logo was edited out soon after WSU made the request.

Rodgers, the incumbent, and Brown face off for a seat in Congress representing Washington’s 5th Congressional District in November. Rodgers has held the seat since 2005.

Powell said Monday morning that the campaign would immediately stop using the phrase on their materials.

This article has been updated to reflect a news statement by Powell.