Friday, April 18, 2008

Event: Rally! - International Worker's Day

We will be holding a rally in the campus quad on May 1st!

If you would like to get involved please e-mail us at SweatFreeHSU@gmail

Please join us, 11am to 1pm, to show President Richmond the students' voice! More information will be posted as things develop. Solidarity!

The Problem - Sweatshops

Sweatshops continue to exist.

The current system of monitoring factories - to ensure compliance with basic human rights - fails on many levels to produce results:
  • Not Transparent- We don't know where the factories are that produce our clothing. This means that, we are unable to examine factories and ensure that HSU's codes of conduct are respected.
  • Weak Codes- Most organizations that monitor factories fail to produce a strong code of ethics, often failing on producing adequate coverage of women's rights. In addition, they often fail to enforce the weak codes
  • Governing Body- Strictly speaking, we can't expect corporations - whose primary motivation is to seek capital gains - to ensure the rights of workers. Even though any individual or group may be corrupted, the system we suggest does not build a ethical structure on a purely economic organization.
These are only a few of the problems that exist. However, in light of this information, President Richmond refuses to endorse the only program that can restructure the damaged system. The motivations and goals of the Designated Supplier's Proposal differ from for-profit corporate interests. Currently, HSU does not participate in any program that pro-actively fights sweatshops, nor does HSU participate in any program that works with other universities to discuss these problems.

Brief History of HUSAS

Humboldt United Students Against Sweatshops (HUSAS)

Founded in the Spring of 2007, by Bonnie Stewart, we began to educate ourselves and the public about sweatshops. In the Fall of 2007, we began meeting with the Director of the University Center. Over a period of several months, we met with the Director in order to convince the University to endorse the Designated Supplier's Proposal (check Resources for more information). After numerous discussions with the Director, we finally decided to draft a public letter endorsing the Designated Supplier's Proposal together.

Unfortunately, the first drafts of the public letters, written by the Director, failed to meet what we needed in order to support the proposal. Ultimately, we went with a draft (available in Resources) that both the University Center Director and HUSAS were happy with. On March 24th, 2008, several members of HUSAS met with President Richmond to discuss the University's endorsement of the proposal. We were insulted to learn that President Richmond had not studied the issues of the Designated Supplier's Proposal as well as he should have. He had been given copies of the Designated Supplier's Proposal and had been briefed multiple times by the University Center Director. As such we responded by posting flyers all over campus over the following week, trying to inform the public about sweatshop exploitation.

On April 3rd, 2008, we collected letters from students addressing problems with the relationship between sweatshops and the University. These letters were addressed to President Richmond, and almost all of them included personal messages and thoughts. We submitted over 100 letters to President Richmond's office on April 7th, 2008. That afternoon, we received a response from President Richmond (available in Resources). The response from President Richmond did not show any effort, on behalf of the University, to become active participants in the movement to end sweatshops. As a result, we resumed discussions with the University administrators.

On May 1st, we held an anti-sweatshop rally. Around 40 of us marched to Siemens Hall and dropped off a letter to President Richmond's office. Although Richmond was not present, we were able to give Provost Robert Snyder our message.

We are now working on a way to promote this revolutionary and proactive program, the Designated Supplier's Proposal, among the student population. We plan to hold events and inform the public. It is our intention to show that, the students are informed about this subject, and support our University's participation in a program that helps begin a new conversation about ending sweatshops. Even after efforts, from many major apparel corporations, to end sweatshop exploitation, sweatshops continue to thrive; clearly we need a new discussion to end sweatshops. The Designated Supplier's Proposal is designed to provide an entirely new system of monitoring factories and provide power in the hands of the university, the students, and the workers.

For more information, check out the "Resources" page.

Last Updated: May 9, 2008