Northwestern closes in on unofficial Dillo Day campaign

A website selling unauthorized Dillo Day merchandise was shut down Wednesday after Northwesterns Office of General Counsel got involved.

Source: Screenshot

A website selling unauthorized Dillo Day merchandise was shut down Wednesday after Northwestern’s Office of General Counsel got involved.

Cat Zakrzewski, Campus Editor

An unofficial online campaign for Dillo Day was shut down this week after Northwestern’s legal team intervened.

The campaign included a website selling unauthorized Dillo Day T-shirts as well as a Facebook page and event directing viewers to the apparel site. At one point this week, the unofficial Facebook page boasted about 200 more followers than Mayfest’s own Dillo Day page.

The unofficial Facebook event was launched March 26, and the apparel website was registered April 15. The website was taken down Wednesday after lawyers from the University’s Office of General Counsel got involved, Mayfest faculty adviser Jude Cooper said. The Facebook page was deleted Thursday.

The online efforts have been linked to Kevin Alsterda, a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, according to sources close to the situation. They did not speak on the record due to the legal team’s involvement.

The domain for the apparel website is registered under Alsterda’s name, and the site’s listed email contact is connected to his Google+ profile. Facebook correspondence between the unofficial account and The Daily was also signed by “Kevin.”

Alsterda said Thursday he could not comment because he was contacted by NU lawyers.

“The only problem now is it is a person who is not involved with Northwestern, and this is a person who has no connection with the University,” Cooper said shortly before the page went offline.

Cooper, who said she had been in conversations with University attorneys, said NU has an unregistered trademark on Dillo Day that is legally associated with the University.

Mayfest representatives said they were relieved the unauthorized page was taken down so students can now receive Dillo Day information from a centralized source.

The group warned students of the unofficial Facebook activity Monday, when the accounts began promoting T-shirt sales. Efforts to direct students to the official Mayfest page were blocked by the unofficial page’s owner, Mayfest officials said.

To the ire of Mayfest leaders, the unofficial Facebook page labeled itself as a clearinghouse for information about Dillo Day parties and drinking deals, even linking to a photo of an armadillo holding a beer.

“The University, administration and risk management does not typically want to promote the use of alcohol … outside the beer garden,” said Mayfest co-chair Wil Heintz, a Weinberg senior. “The point of the day is to throw a music festival in celebration of the last day of classes.”

Cooper said she was concerned about the way the unauthorized Facebook account imitated NU, using purple fonts and even linking to the official Mayfest website.

“He hijacked the name Dillo Day,” Cooper said of the account’s owner. “He wanted to make money off the name by selling Dillo Day products.”