Imagine There’s No Countries . . .

Considering the Possibility and Practice of Global Citizenship

WE ARE PENN STATE (and we have friends from Duke, too)

Posted by bklunk on January 29, 2009

No Sweat :: Inside Higher Ed :: Higher Education’s Source for News, Views and Jobs

News from Inside Higer Education about the issue of colleges and universities sellling branded apparel possibly manufactured in sweatshops around the world. 

A major supplier of college apparel has brokered a unique deal,
promising to pay more for garments produced by a factory in the
Dominican Republic if workers there are paid a living wage. While not
publicly announced by the company, the plan proposed by Knights Apparel
is already drawing support in higher education. Officials at Duke and
Pennsylvania State Universities have confirmed that their bookstores
will be buying from the Knights Apparel factory, and a committee at the
University of Connecticut is considering participation as well.

“This is one factory in one country, so we understand the
limitations of that,” said Damon Sims, vice president for student
affairs at Penn State. “But it’s also the first factory to be doing
things the right way. It’s clear their intention is to provide workers
with a verified living wage and insuring they have freedom of
[unionization] rights; that is a difference that matters.”

The key word is “verified.” Penn State and a host of institutions
have long had codes of conduct that require licensees to meet minimum
fair labor standards, but college officials at Penn State and elsewhere
concede that those codes have been nearly impossible to enforce. The
Knights Apparel plan, as described by college officials, will allow an
independent group – the Workers Rights Consortium – to verify that the factory is meeting standards. 

This may hearten activists at other campuses who are looking for a way to practice global citizenship.

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