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TRU will not abandon branding strategy because of word “unearth”

October 01, 2015 - 12:23 PM

KAMLOOPS - Thompson Rivers University has no plans to abandon its branding strategy, but may change one word in the proposed new slogan after critics claim it points to a bias towards the proposed Ajax mine.

Lucille Gnanasihamany, associate vice president of marketing and communications at TRU, says the problem stems from the phrase “everyone has the right to unearth their potential.” The usage of the word “unearth” has been questioned, but she explains it's only a very small piece of the overall strategy to be officially released Nov. 25.

“It is one word, in one quarter of the whole brand,” she says. “The brand itself is far more than a slogan.”

Gnanasihamany explains the strategy encompasses everything from philosophically how the university defines itself, to colour pallets and fonts.

TRU professor Michael Mehta started an online petition on change.org objecting specifically to the word “unearth.” In the petition he says the word shows a bias towards the proposed Ajax Mine.

“This brand strategy clearly demonstrates the university is not neutral," he says.

Mehta, and those who sign the online petition, are asking the Board of Governors to abandon their brand strategy.

He also says “unearth” is insensitive to First Nations as the Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation have asserted territorial rights on the site of the proposed Ajax mine.

“The reason we went with this is because Mother Earth gives rise to good things, as education gives rise to good things,” Gnanasihamany says, adding the project consulted with First Nations who appreciated the wording as it denoted the land and a spiritual link to Mother Earth. 

Gnanasihamany says the project will not be abandoned, but if changing the word "unearth" will solve the problem, it will be looked into.

“(One word) can be really easily be addressed,” she says.

She says the branding committee has spent the last 14 months and thousands of hours working on the strategy which included two town hall meetings, two online town hall meetings and an online survey sent to roughly 1,000 participants that garnered almost 6,000 responses. The project has also cost roughly $115,000.

The Ajax Mine is a proposed copper and gold open-pit mine planned southwest of Kamloops.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Dana Reynolds at dreynolds@infonews.ca or call 250-819-6089. To contact an editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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