DENVER — For many, the pandemic brought about new ideas of running a business while taking restrictions into consideration. That’s partly how LiveCampusTours by Nylie came to be for co-founder Seth Kugel.
"We provide live one-on-one virtual tours by high school students given by current undergraduates of the college," Kugel said.
LiveCampusTours gives families of high school students a glimpse of schools without making a road trip and spending money on travel. Sometimes, Kugel says, they will even offer lower rates for tours if some families can't afford it.
"We think that this levels the playing field in many ways," Kugel said.
But not all of the 175 universities they provide tours of have been on board. More than a dozen have issued cease and desist letters. One the latest to do so, the University of Denver.
"Their argument seems to be that we can’t use their name on the website and they think that people will be confused into thinking that these are official tours given by the university and a lot of times that is the concern," said Kugel.
In a statement, DU says, "The university owns the registered trademark 'University of Denver.' LiveCampusTours is using the trademark to provide a service to prospective students and their families that is offered by the university at no cost."
DU isn’t alone. Colorado State University is also contemplating similar measures and say it also provides virtual tours, but for free.
In a statement CSU says in part,“We are aware of other campuses across the country that have issued cease-and-desist letters to LiveCampusTours and CSU is currently considering similar legal action.”
For CU Boulder student and tour guide for the virtual tour company, Lily Combs, they’re really an aid to universities and not competition.
"If a school wants these students to be happy once they get here, I think it is really important to know what they are getting themselves into," Combs said.
"We want to promote the fact that it is an unofficial tour, we believe that is our strength," Kugel said.
Kugel has already responded to DU and is waiting to hear back.
For now, it’s unclear if this pandemic concept will be fully embraced or challenged in the courts.