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WMU rebranding upsets Broncos fans

Students and alumni are not happy with the school's decision to drop the Bronco logo at athletic facilities in favor of the new "Circle W."

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — In Kalamazoo, the Bronco ghost is officially toast. 

"Why would we do this now?" wonders Jon Blackmore. "It's like a mix of anger and embarrassment."

Clearly, the WMU alum (Class of 2005) doesn't like the change in branding one bit. That's partly because he loved the old logo and party because he hates the schools new primary symbol just as passionately. 

"It's like yeah, 'We're going to kill that off and then here's a Circle W for you," he complains. "What is going on?"

What's happening, whether Blackmore likes it or not is the start of a new era at Western Michigan University. Recently, the school spent almost $700,000 on revamping its image, something they say had to be done coming out of the pandemic.

"This is not an expenditure," says Western Michigan's VP Marketing and Strategic Communications Tony Proudfoot. "This is an investment.  This is a story about a university that's strong. And needs a stronger brand."

But reaction to the changes which includes a variation of the Bronco as a secondary logo hasn't been overwhelmingly favorable. On Twitter using the handle Ghost Bronco, Blackmore says he's been flooded with comments from angry students and alumni who feel the university should have included them on their decision to rebrand.   

"This isn't just a small group of people that are upset or who don't like whole subjectivity of this creative exercise," he explains. "No, like everyone is really upset about this."

And Blackmore says he has the proof. He's started a petition and has already collected over a thousand signatures. He would like the university to reconsider it's revamp but at this point, that doesn't appear likely. 

"We really feel when people come in the fall they are going to be excited about what they see," said Proudfoot.

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