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October 31, 2014

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UNR students remove ‘questionable’ fan video that came under fire

Image

YouTube.com

A screen grab from “Savior of the Student Section: Nevada’s J.C.,” a slickly-produced, four-minute fan video that showcases a bearded male UNR student who calls himself “J.C.”

Savior of the Student Section: Nevada’s J.C.

A screen grab from Launch slideshow »

The UNR students behind a satirical YouTube video that in part mocked UNLV have taken down the controversial video, which drew the ire of Nevada’s higher education chancellor.

UNR spokeswoman Jane Tors said the university sent the student videographers a cease-and-desist letter last Monday. The letter stated that students misused the UNR Wolf Pack logo and asked them to remove all uses of the logo from the video by Friday.

Tors argued the students' use of UNR’s logo perpetuates a misconception that the university created and condoned the video.

The logo and a link to UNR’s ticketing website is shown at the end of the student-produced video. The UNR logo is also seen on a headband and on the chairs at Mackay Stadium, where part of the video was shot.

“It was an unauthorized use of the university’s logo,” Tors said. “The way the video was produced and the way the university logo was used gave the impression that the video was produced by the university.”

The four-minute video, titled “Savior of the Student Section: Nevada’s J.C.,” features a long-haired, bearded man who calls himself “J.C.” and wears a white robe, blue sash, brown sandals and a blue UNR Wolf Pack headband.

The man’s identity could not be ascertained, but a March article in UNR’s student newspaper described J.C. as a passionate Wolf Pack fan who has become a fixture at UNR football games. The YouTube video describes J.C. as UNR’s official unofficial mascot.

In the video, J.C. is shown at various locations around UNR’s campus, interacting with several actors posing as UNR students.

At one point in the video, J.C. autographs a young man’s Bible and a young woman’s partially exposed breast. Later in the video, J.C. attacks a stick figure dressed in a red UNLV Rebels T-shirt, and yells “Your school is a waste of state money. Your school sucks.”

In an interview with the Reno Gazette-Journal, J.C. said he created the video “to build school spirit and raise school morale” by showing off UNR’s campus. J.C. told the Reno newspaper that the scene ridiculing UNLV was an attempt to highlight UNR’s longtime football rivalry against UNLV.

”It is a scene that is getting controversy and heat, but it’s a rivalry and the video is to showcase our rivalry,” J.C. said. “If that is taken the right way and not seriously, it is fun. … We just want to get our students engaged.”

The video was uploaded to YouTube on Sept. 21, about a month before UNR’s homecoming game against UNLV on Oct. 26.

Regardless of the students’ intent, the video caught the attention of Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Dan Klaich, who sent a sharply worded email to UNR President Marc Johnson. The video and Klaich’s email were circulated among Nevada’s higher education officials earlier this month.

“I have to say I am pretty appalled by this video and its denigration of your sister institution UNLV,” Klaich wrote in the email. “We work our tails off to promote collaboration and partnership and something like this does real damage.”

“I am frankly ashamed of it and to be in any way associated with it,” Klaich wrote in concluding the email.

UNR officials were “pleased” that the students decided to pull the J.C. video from YouTube, Tors said. By Friday, when the students informed the university of the take-down, the video had amassed more than 17,000 views on YouTube.

“We were disappointed in the content of the video. There were some religious overtones and gender overtones that we thought were questionable,” Tors said. “We were disappointed with the references to our sister institution. Being so disparaging just doesn’t do any of us any good.”

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