PROVO — Mitt Romney stamped his family name on BYU, but the school has asked him to stop using video footage of its campus in his U.S. Senate campaign ads.
"We have spoken with Mitt Romney’s campaign officials about the brief clips showing campus and our political neutrality policy," university spokeswoman Carri Jenkins said. "We have been assured by the campaign staff that this footage will not be used in any other promotional pieces."
Romney, who earned an English degree and spoke at his own BYU graduation in 1971 as the outgoing president of the Cougar Club, announced last month that he would run this year for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch.
The Romney campaign released a two-minute video last month when it announced his run. The video included short clips of a college-age man and woman walking past the Abraham Smoot Building and the Harris Fine Arts Center and sitting in the Harold B. Lee Library.
Jenkins said the Romney campaign did not ask for permission to film on campus.
The Romney campaign declined to comment.
BYU has a strict political neutrality policy "to ensure independence from partisan political activities," Jenkins said.
Romney, the Republican Party's 2012 presidential nominee, has deep ties to BYU. His wife, Ann, and their five sons also graduated from the school. In 1998, Romney donated $1 million to BYU to rename its Institute of Public Management the George W. Romney Institute of Public Management. And in 2014 he delivered a BYU forum assembly address about his 2012 presidential run and life lessons.
Despite those ties, the university policy's stated goal is meant to "avoid any impression that a particular political candidate, party, or faction has the support or endorsement of the university."22 comments on this story
The two-minute Romney campaign video includes strong political positions on issues ranging from the national budget to imports to immigration.
BYU's policy states that maintaining neutrality avoids mistaken impressions about its sponsor: "The essential functions of the university require strict institutional neutrality, integrity and independence regarding partisan political activities, particularly because perceived partisanship is often interpreted as endorsement by the university’s sponsor, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."