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Insignia items may come from designated suppliers

by Karen A. Grava - April 10, 2006

The University is working with other higher education institutions to design a collaborative program to implement a “Designated Supplier Program” (DSP) that will steer increasing numbers of University orders to a selected group of verifiably “sweat-free” enterprises.

UConn is regarded as one of the national leaders in the effort to eliminate sweatshop conditions in factories that produce goods with college or university logos.

On March 24, Julie Bell-Elkins, associate dean of students, at the request of President Philip E. Austin, discussed the DSP with a special working group that included Indiana, Duke, Georgetown, and Santa Clara Universities and the University of Wisconsin- Madison.

The meeting was organized by the Worker Rights Consortium, a national anti-sweatshop organization of which UConn was a founding member.

“Our goal is to work together with these institutions to move this issue forward,” Austin says. “The working group will be meeting monthly to develop specific plans for implementation of the program.

Additional universities have already expressed interest in joining with us in this effort.”

Austin has formed the President’s Committee on Sweatshop Labor, and charged it with overseeing policy, outreach, and management issues involved in possible exploitation of workers engaged in the production of goods bearing the UConn logo.

The committee is chaired by Professor Waldo Klein of the School of Social Work and includes students, faculty, staff, and the director of the UConn Co-op.

The committee has established a website on sweatshop issues, http://web.uconn.edu/sweatshop/.  

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