As part of the celebration of St. Patrick's Day (even though this is being written the day after), I want to note something I found out when I visited my hometown of El Paso a couple of weeks ago.
Growing up in this border city, I attended Cathedral High School, an all-boys school run by the Christian Brothers. This year the small (400 students) school in central El Paso celebrates its 85th anniversary.
However, just recently and unfortunately, the University of Notre Dame notified the school that it could no longer call itself the "Fighting Irish" or use the logo of the leprechaun figure due to copyright infringement. Notre Dame claims it alone holds the copyright to this nickname and logo.
Apparently there are other Catholic schools like Cathedral in the country that also use the Notre Dame nickname and logo and the university notes that when it finds this out it notifies them to cease.
What this means for little Cathedral is that it will have to not only find a new nickname and logo, but it will have to go to the expense of buying new uniforms for its teams and other paraphernalia to comply with Notre Dame's threat to possibly sue if the school does not comply.
One Cathedral student quoted in the El Paso Times responded, "Since 1925, we've been known as the Fighting Irish. It's how people know us" (see El Paso Times, March 5, 2011).
Not to put a damper on celebrating St. Patrick's Day and week, but I find it astounding that a large and wealthy university such as Notre Dame would, in a non-Catholic and capitalist manner, force a little and non-wealthy high school to change years of tradition -- a high school that in effect pays homage to Notre Dame and encourages its students to consider going to college there -- and go through the difficult expenses to make the change.
This is not in the spirit of Notre Dame or that of St. Patrick. It is greed and moneymaking, pure and simple.
I call on Notre Dame officials to rescind their bullying of Cathedral and any other schools, and to allow my former school to continue to call itself the Fighting Irish with the leprechaun logo. I call on readers to write letters to the president of Notre Dame to stop such nonsense.