It's unfortunate that so much misreporting and witch-hunting took place. While I agree that a lot of people may have been misinformed and that the system as a whole was nice, the logo itself was ugly. And often times, a logo needs to stand by itself, outside of it's intended system. However, just because the school eliminated the logo, doesn't mean they have to do away with the entire system. If you honestly look at the system and replace it with the actual old logo, sure it doesn't work perfectly, but it's still better than what they were using before. And they can always rework a new logo into the system as well. One that is less offensive. In fact, a pretty small change would make a huge difference: the gradient of the "C" was the main offender; when the logo is presented with the "C" as a cutout, it looks 10x better, imo.
How do we as designers balance exploration of new ideas in the public space when our explorations are continuously under assault by public opinion that pretty much never likes anything new?
"One has to observe it functioning in every form of media to determine the entire effect."
That part of the post is highly questionable. Parts of this post also boil down to something like "the means justifies the ends." Well-intentioned design can be poorly executed too.
Something that struck me from the underconsideration blog post:
"It has been confirmed that the design — everything from the logo to the video to the applications — was carried in-house, by an 11-person creative team"
I wonder how muddy that process was. The quote above, the quality of work, and the fact that UC will use both the seal and symbol says to me that the political process played as big a role as the creative one.
On a somewhat related topic, here's identity work that went through the sausage grinder and came out with a better looking seal : http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/a_more_royal_royal_opera_house.php