University officials requested Greg Gant stop using the Temple “T” in his shirt designs.
The “thug life” isn’t all fun and games. Greg Gant was reminded of this shortly after the university learned he is the man behind the “Thug Life” T-shirts that proudly boast the Temple “T.”
Gant, a senior broadcast, telecommunication and mass media major, started selling Temple-related T-shirts his sophomore year. In January 2009, Gant launched his “Thug Life” line.
After he conducted an interview with The Temple News, Gant, who is currently studying abroad in London, received an e-mail from the Office of Business Services, demanding he cease production of his shirts with Temple marks by Oct. 30.
“I thought it was kind of exciting to do the interview with [The Temple News]. It was fun, trying to help spread the word … Temple kind of took it the wrong way, and they sent me an e-mail telling me how I’m breaking all these rules and laws,” Gant said.
Gant said he has other designs he could sell, if he chooses to continue in the T-shirt industry.
“I have a pretty decent following even though most people don’t know who I am … I made the ‘Drunkadelphia’ T-shirt, and that one doesn’t have any trademarks on it or anything like that so I can still make and sell [it].”
Yet, Gant said that he will likely close shop altogether.
“It’s kind of sad, but it doesn’t mean I have to stop. It just means I have to stop using their logos and stuff,” Gant said. “But I probably will stop because I guess I should move on with my life. I can’t sell T-shirts forever.”
“I just hope Temple doesn’t bring down the hammer on me too hard for this ‘cause I don’t know if they’re actually going to hit me with consequences,” Gant said.
Gant said he doesn’t feel he’s alone on the losing end.
“I think [the university is] losing out because I sold a lot of shirts to not even just people at Temple, [but] I sold them to people in high schools,” he said. “And I know a lot of people who bought those shirts in high school and then decided to go to Temple.”
“They all knew Temple isn’t really that ‘thug’ – it’s just funny,” Gant added. “It draws attention to the school, showing that it’s a fun place to be, and it’s actually not that bad.”
Gant said people at Temple and at other schools make similar T-shirts.
“[At Penn State], there’s hundred of people selling crazy T-shirts in the parking lot and tailgates,” Gant said, “and I don’t see why Temple can’t have fun, playful T-shirts like that too.”
While Gant said that the business isn’t too lucrative, he said someone else will likely pick up the “thug life” torch.
“Temple can tell me to stop, but all it’s going to do is make someone else make the shirts now … I wouldn’t be surprised if other people on campus start selling ‘Thug Life’ shirts just because it’s so easy to get T-shirts printed. There’s nothing to stop people from doing it.”
Linda Frazer, the director of Business Services, said the university wants to ensure its logo is being used appropriately.
“We want to make sure that our marks are used appropriately and that they’re not defaced in anyway … and the products that they’re being used on are being produced with fair labor,” Frazer said.
“There’s several issues here that are at stake,” she said. “It’s not really a profit issue. It’s really the mark itself.”
Frazer said while her office doesn’t necessarily investigate unauthorized uses of the trademarks and logos, it takes action when it is notified of them.
“Well I don’t have a very large office and not a very big staff. It’s more as we come upon things and when we see things, then we take action,” Frazer said.
Frazer said students can consult her office to make such T-shirts with university authorization.
“We’ve had many students in the past, and many alum in the past, come to our office, and we’ve told them how to use the Temple marks legally, both for profit and not for profit,” she said.
Gant said he wouldn’t know where to begin to make this happen.
“I don’t even know how I would start that process … they didn’t seem to willing to negotiate when they sent me the e-mail,” Gant said. “I don’t think they enjoyed ‘Thug Life’ too much.”
Angelo Fichera can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.