Thursday, May 01, 2008

The United Students Against Sweatshops continue with their various campaigns to pressure university and college administrations to adopt the 'Designated Suppliers Program'. This is a code of ethics for such institutions that would bind them to purchase supplies only from businesses that uphold ethical labour practices. To read more about the DSP see the website highlighted above.
In the course of one of their campaigns, at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, students have now been sitting-in at administration offices for over 14 days now. The following is an appeal from these students for support in pressuring their administration to sign up to the DSP.

UNC Sit-In Enters Third Week: Tell President Bowles to Adopt the DSP!

Students at the Unviersity of North Carolina are starting the 15th day of their sit-in to demand a sweatshop-free UNC. Students are putting their lives on hold, community members are camping on the steps of South Building, and senators are telling the UNC administration to sign on. However, despite this massive outpouring of public support, the university refuses to join the 42 major universities who have already adopted the DSP. Email and fax President Bowles today to demand that UNC become the 43rd school to commit to the DSP!

Send a letter to the following decision maker(s):
President Erskine Bowles UNC President Erskine Bowles
Below is the sample letter:
Dear [decision maker name automatically inserted here],
I write to you about a pressing human rights issue concerning the integrity of the University of North Carolina system and the broader Carolina community.
For the past fourteen days, dozens of UNC-Chapel Hill students have been occupying South Building as part of a three-year campaign to get UNC to adopt the Designated Suppliers Program (DSP). This program was presented to the UNC-CH administration in 2005 by Student Action with Workers, an affiliate of United Students Against Sweatshops. The DSP is a comprehensive program under which University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill apparel will be produced in designated sweatfree factories that abide by the labor codes of conduct that UNC-CH adopted in 1999, after a four-day sit-in in South Building.
Due to the pressure of the current sit-in, Chancellor James Moeser has called an emergency meeting of his Licensing Labor Code Advisory Committee to be held this Friday, May 2, 2008. Though he has reopened the topic for discussion to charge the new Chancellor with these concerns, I believe that after so many years the time to act is now.
This is not an isolated effort at one UNC system school. In addition to the forty-two universities who have already adopted the program, dozens of other universities are considering the program for adoption. Students, faculty, and workers at Appalachian State University have been asking their administration to adopt the DSP since 2006. Six ASU students engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience urging adoption of the DSP were arrested April 11, 2008 at the urging of the ASU administration. This is unacceptable. Two years ago, after sit-ins at the University of California-Riverside and the University of California-Berkeley, the President of the UC system took moral leadership on the issue and signed the entire UC system onto the DSP.
I would like to see your university system act as a leader in the struggle to ensure that the rights of workers producing apparel for your university are respected. Your position as a top seller of collegiate apparel means that you should be setting ethical standards. I would urge you to show leadership on this issue and join the 42 universities who have already adopted the DSP!
To read more and join this campaign go to THIS LINK.

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