Caught on film

Allison Smith

Ohio law allows universities to use photos of students to advertise without their permission

Kent State alumnus David Evans, shown in the bottom photo of the banner on the side of the University Library, said he was unaware the photo was taken during the graduation ceremony. Brittany Ankrom | Summer Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

It was early in the morning when David Evans, a Kent State alumnus, received a text message from a friend saying there was a huge photo of him on the side of the library building.

“I thought it was either an ad for Flash ALERTS, which I was in, or a picture from last fall’s homecoming,” Evans said in an e-mail. “Then he sent me a picture message, and I was like, ‘Oh man, that’s from graduation. I’ve never seen that.'”

Emily Vincent, director of university media relations, said the university can use photos of students because of the Ohio Revised Code. Under this code, the university can use a person’s image if they are or were a student at the university or if the use was for educational purposes or promotion of the university and its educational objectives.

Iris Harvey, vice president of university relations, said the university chooses photos for banners like the one on the side of the library building by making sure there is a mixture of people in photographs and a mixture of campus life.

“It’s part of an overall design,” Harvey said. “We’re hoping that as time and opportunity and funding allow that we can do a whole lot more on the campus.”

Harvey said banners are merchandising on the campus and they really want students to be excited about Kent State. She said university campuses almost have to compete with the visual stimulation at places like retail environments.

“What’s important to think about the banners is that they are environmental communication,” Harvey said. “We are looking for opportunities on campus to reinforce the experience, to reinforce the expression of academic excellence and to have a representation of student life in unexpected places and in size bigger than life.”

Evans said he doesn’t remember the photo of him being taken.

“It was just such an amazing moment, I had just walked out of the M.A.C Center and was just standing on the steps around my family, taking it all in,” Evans said.

He said his parents took a bunch of pictures of the banner when they came to help him move out.

“I guess if it stays up then it will be like I’m watching over all of my friends during the next school year.”

Contact principal reporter Allison Smith at [email protected]