Friday, April 11, 2008

A little Molly Intro:
The following is an appeal from the United Students Against Sweatshops. For some time now they have been organizing and struggling to bring various Universities and Colleges in the USA to adopt what is called the Designated Suppliers Program. This is basically a code of ethics saying that such institutions will not buy materials from suppliers who do do not uphold a basic standard of labour rights. See the website highlighted above for more information on what this is all about. In the following appeal USAS calls for both phone calls and emails to petition the President of Appalachian State to accede to the demands of the students sitting in at that institution. To read more and join this campaign go HERE.
Students at Appalachian State are now in the third day of their sit-in to demand that Appalachian State adopt the DSP. Despite the fact that they have been threatened with arrest, the students have still refused to budge. Email, fax, and call the President of the University of North Carolina system to demand that he refrain from arresting students and that the entire UNC system, including the University of North Carolina, adopt the DSP today!

President Erskine Bowles: 919-962-1000

Hello, my name is _________ and I am a ________ at _______. I have been following the sit-in at Appalachian State for the past three days, and am very disappointed that the university has not yet adopted the DSP. I would urge you, as the President of the UNC system, to adopt the DSP for every school within your system. I would also urge you to refrain from any attempt to arrest peaceful protestors. These students are setting an example that the university should be proud of. Thank you.

Send a letter to the following decision maker(s): President Erskine Bowles UNC President Erskine Bowles
Below is the sample letter:
Subject: Adopt the DSP Today!
Dear [decision maker name automatically inserted here],
It has come to my attention that students at Appalachian State University are currently engaged in a peaceful civil disobedience demanding that Appalachian State apparel is no longer produced in sweatshops. Students have been peacefully occupying the lobby of their administration building for the past 48 hours, and Chancellor Peacock has still not agreed to take a stance in support of the basic rights of workers. In addition, students at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill have been requesting that their university adopt the Designated Suppliers Program for the past three years. Students at both of these universities have garnered the support of the student body, the faculty, the campus employees, and the community, and still the university has not taken action.
As the President of the University of North Carolina system, of which Appalachian State University and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill are a part, I would urge you to adopt the Designated Suppliers Program on behalf of the entire North Carolina system. The workers producing apparel bearing your university name work long hours in unsafe and unsanitary factories in which they are constantly subject to physical and verbal harassment, forced overtime, and oftentimes much worse. These workers do not earn enough to support themselves, let alone a family, and when they attempt to better their working conditions they run the risk of losing their jobs, and are sometimes even threatened with physical violence. As the President of the University of North Carolina system, you have the power to help put a stop to this.
Two years ago today, students across the University of California system took a similar approach, as they occupied the Chancellors' offices at the Berkeley and Riverside campuses. The President of the University of California system took these concerns seriously and adopted the Designated Suppliers Program on behalf of the entire UC system. I would hope that the University of North Carolina would display a similar form of leadership by joining the 42 other major universities throughout the United States who have already signed on to the Designated Suppliers Program. While the universities of your system are currently hiding behind legal arguments, they are ignoring the fact that, by committing to the implementation of the DSP as soon as all legal issues have been addressed, the university puts itself at no legal risk whatsoever. The students at Appalachian State have made this abundantly clear, and I would urge your administration to stop hiding behind legal arguments and address this as a worker rights issue.
Students at Appalachian State have shown that they are willing to put their lives on hold until their university does the right thing, and it is my hope that your universities will take their concerns seriously. Students throughout your system have the right to peacefully protest these grave injustices, and I would urge you to listen to their demands, adopt the DSP, and refrain from taking any form of disciplinary action against them. If your university is to truly live up to its motto and be a "university of the people," much less a "university of the people of the world," then you must ensure that students have the right to peacefully express their views and concerns. These students are standing up for what is right, and I would urge you, as the President of the University of North Carolina system, to follow their lead.


Billay! said...

Hey, we got arrested. Organizing a call for charges to be dropped and compiling a youtube video. Thanks for checking in - and nice blog idea! :)

Anonymous said...