The U of T Campus Police issued an alert regarding unauthorized posters advertising jobs with a tutoring service at the St. George campus on November 15.
The posters said U of T Student Life “is starting on a tutoring service” and requested résumés for a website designer to be sent to email@example.com. The poster contains a U of T logo that was not licensed or approved.
“We are not following up on potential trademark infringement for this specific case at this time, because there is a more comprehensive investigation currently underway by Campus Police,” said Anne Macdonald, the director of ancillary services at U of T, in an email.
In cases of trademark infringement where Campus Police is not involved, the Trademark Licensing Office contacts the organizations involved and requests them to cease and desist, which usually resolves the problem without need of legal action, according to Macdonald.
The St. George campus, which has city streets going through the campus, is more susceptible to such false advertising than the relatively isolated UTM is. At UTM, the majority of poster requests need to be approved by UTMSU, said Mark Overton, UTM’s dean of student affairs.
“We’re simply a smaller community where more people know what others are doing and more people know what services are available,” said Overton. “We did share this particular message with a number of departments and services on campus so that we’re on a lookout for it. But other than that, we haven’t tweaked any [postering] procedures, because we haven’t had experience with encountering such an issue.”
Students can avoid being deceived by posters that falsely claim to be run by or affiliated with the university by looking for an actual
@utoronto.ca email address, a legitimate address on campus, and an appropriate domain name. If a poster looks suspicious, students can contact the academic department, Campus Police, or Student Affairs to verify the ad, said Overton.
Studentsforstudents.ca did not reply to phone, voicemail, or online contact requests regarding the issue.