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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 August 2006, 11:22 GMT 12:22 UK
Canada university in campaign row
Screengrab from www.yaleshmale.com
The university says it will not retract its campaign
A small Canadian university has sparked controversy with its recruitment drive by using posters and a website mocking US President George W Bush.

Lakehead University in northern Ontario set up www.yaleshmale.com in a bid to attract potential new students.

It shows a picture of Yale graduate Mr Bush with the caption: "Graduating from an Ivy League university doesn't necessarily mean you're smart."

The president of Lakehead's student union called the campaign "repugnant".

The university has issued posters bearing the black and white image of Mr Bush, who graduated from Yale in 1968, encouraging people to visit its campaign website.

It was literally a tongue-in-cheek way of getting attention
Frederick Gilbert,
Lakehead University president and vice-chancellor

Once there, users are invited to click on a link if they agree with the caption, and are taken through to a page promoting Lakehead, which is based in Thunder Bay and has 7,600 students.

"There are universities and then there are universities. So let's not beat around the bush," it says.

"Lakehead is different. We believe the person you become after you graduate is even more important than the person you were when you enrolled."

There is then a further link to take users through to Lakehead's official site for potential students.


The university has defended its campaign, which also includes prizes of a car lease and handheld computer games consoles, saying it has had a positive effect.

"It was literally a tongue-in-cheek way of getting attention," university president and vice-chancellor Frederick Gilbert told Reuters news agency.

The website had received more than 7,000 hits, he said on Monday, and online comments had been 95% positive.

But he acknowledged the university had received e-mails which were "running in the opposite direction", which was a concern.

"Older generations" and some of Lakehead's students considered the campaign inappropriate, he said.

The university would not retract its campaign, however, although it would try to respond to individual concerns, he said.

Student union president Isabelle Poniatowski told Reuters the campaign was low-brow and lacked class.

"It still strikes me as being very repugnant," she said. "Lakehead has so many positive attributes that you could really sell to people that live down south."

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