Mizzou Student Surprised to Find Herself the Face of Webster University

Categories: Education

kholood webster b&w.jpg
Via Facebook
Kholood Eid: A model student.
The face of Webster University's MBA program appears so happy and self-assured in the ads displayed at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. There she is, smiling confidently at the camera, her arms crossed boldly in front of her. Her gleaming image almost makes you want to join her and the other future business executives studying at Webster's leafy campus in suburban St. Louis.

The only problem with that?

To find the woman in the ad you'd have to travel 120 miles west to the University of Missouri where Kholood Eid is pursuing a graduate degree in journalism and, until a friend passing through the airport sent her a text last month, had no idea her likeness was being used to sell Webster University. Since then, other friends have passed along photos of the ad via text messages and social media.

"It's just weird," says Eid. "You'd think that they'd inform me before using my photo. That and I never pursued an MBA from Webster University."

Eid did, however, receive her undergraduate degree from Webster and recalls being photographed prior to her graduation in May 2010. Her understanding was that the photo was to hang in the school's communications building along with pictures of other honor students within the department. She does not remember signing a release for the photo.

Apparently she did.

"It's dated March 26, 2010," informs Susan Kerth, a spokeswoman for Webster University.

kholood webster university.jpg

The release states that Webster University may use the picture for any and all exhibitions, public display, publications, commercial art, Internet/Web and advertising related to student recruitment and any other university promotional activities without limitation or reservation.

Still, shouldn't the school have notified Eid that it was going to use her image to advertise its MBA program? And doesn't it have any actual MBA students that could appear in the poster? (Edit note: It's probably worth mentioning here that Eid worked as a part-time layout editor and contributor for Riverfront Times from 2010 to 2012. Also, the author of this article once worked with Susan Kerth at another newspaper. So, yeah, conflicts of interest on both sides.)

"We use images of students and former students for all sorts of purposes as the photo release allows," says Kerth. "[Eid's photo] was just a really nice image."

Eid, whose parents hail from Palestine, has another theory: "They just wanted an ethnically ambiguous face."

And she says it's not the first time she has felt used by the university. Shortly after graduation, she says, the university asked her for a quote about her experience as a student. She says she was told it was for a newsletter for alumni. Later, she says, she found out the quote was used as part of a fundraising campaign.

Eid adds that while she enjoyed her time at Webster, she has since soured on the institution after the school "handed me a bill instead of my diploma on graduation day" and then turned her over to a collection agency.

"I enrolled at Webster to be a student, not their poster child," she says.

So, perhaps the university could help her out now by paying her to serve as its official model?

Eh, not exactly. The same release Eid signed three years ago also protects the university from paying her any compensation.

Though Eid won't have to concern herself with the ad at the airport much longer.

"We are taking it down and will replace it with another," Kerth tells Daily RFT.

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18 comments
Abc123
Abc123

she has since soured on the institution after the school "handed me a bill instead of my diploma on graduation day" and then turned her over to a collection agency. 

Wow.....welcome to the real world.  You have to pay your bills.  I'm pretty sure that you do not get your diploma at any university if you have not paid your tuition.  She knew the cost of attending and chose to go to Webster.  I'm amazed that people think they are owed something without paying for it.

EStL
EStL

As a current Webster student, I can attest to the fact that the University is much more concerned with profit margins than their actual students.

James Madison
James Madison

She needs to act like an adult. She signed a release. If there were restrictions she wanted to place on her likeness, the time to do so was at the shoot. Grow up and read the contract before signing!

JamesMadison
JamesMadison topcommenter

and RFT surely gets signed releases from all their subjects in photos, right? And surely, the RFT informs each subject the intended use to that photo. I bet those people the RFT mocks  appreciate the opt out policy the RFT uses. What? the RFT does not do all of that? Oh, they hide behind journalism and freedom of the press right? The opinion that Fair Use of newsworthy events. Yet the RFT dares to question a signed model release form?

She's an adult. She signed a contract. No story here. Happens to models from all over.

_stl
_stl

Kholood is one of the coolest people I have ever met. I can see why they wanted to use her image. 

Chiguy
Chiguy

This is absolutely ridiculous.  Kholood sounds like she's ready to become a journalist - already taking something rather innocuous and trying to sensationalize it into an outrage. 

essential
essential

I am hoping whatever journalism degree Eid gets will allow her to see what a pile of crap this article is. You need to go no further than to the point where Mr. Garrison so cheerfully brings up "conflicts of interest on both sides" - both sides being the RFT. I guess Webster should just advertise more in the RFT to get less slanted coverage.  

st_louis63104
st_louis63104

Wouldn't happen if she got a CCW.  Some m'fkr sneak up on me wit some wack ass release form to sign?....i be like POW POW POW all up in they face, amirite??

hamlela
hamlela

It's not classless at all--it's how things work. Eid should have used her solid Webster education to read what she was signing. Not the University's fault she would rather cry ethnic violation than know what the hell she's talking about.

LearnToRead
LearnToRead

"Still, shouldn't the school have notified Eid that it was going to use her image to advertise its MBA program?"

No. A release is just that, a release. She should've read it. Happens all the time.

Alyssa Jones
Alyssa Jones

Looks like it's another slow news day at the RFT.

jacobaaronalbert
jacobaaronalbert

To me that is classless on Websters part. It just does not seem right . Even though everything is with permission and legally documented.

chad_garrison
chad_garrison moderator editor

@essential Yes, University of Missouri should take this up as a case study. That's a tremendous idea! Though to address your main point, I agree that mentioning that Eid worked for the RFT was important. That's why I included it. And while I was at it -- in an effort of full disclosure -- I figured I should also mention that Kerth and I were once colleagues at another newspaper. (St. Louis is a pretty small media town; people know this stuff.) As for Webster U.'s advertisements (or lack thereof) in the RFT, that's a curious argument. You're saying we intentionally write slanted articles about businesses/institutions in the hope of getting them to advertise with us? That's a journalism tactic they didn't teach me in j-school. 

megarock
megarock

@st_louis63104 Spoken like a true NRA supporter. Pretty sure you can save at the grocery store the same way.

MikeN
MikeN

@chad_garrison @essential I remember Kholood's work on DailyRFT -- I always thought she was a he (sorry Kholood!)  This reminds me of a Friends episode when Joey ended up on a poster about VD...  

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