Nike wins Penn State University’s affaire; workers and society lose

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Bad news; Penn State University continues dealing with Nike in spite of the stuggle of students who demanded to reconsider the agreement up to Nike addresses the labour exploitation situation in Hansae (Vietnam). United Students Against Sweatshops has published this letter that deserves to be fully showed. Remember that the Nike deal is about $2 million a year. Next, the letter:

With regard to the aforementioned, we as students of this university and as advocates in the dignified treatment of all individuals are dismayed at the University’s decision. Following our meeting on Jan. 20th, we were beyond overjoyed at the prospect of the University taking such a strong stance on behalf of worker’s rights.

In that moment, we were proud Penn Staters. Yet, in writing this we are a little less so. Having read the WRC report, we find it confusing how the administration could continue on with a company that so flagrantly denies the human dignity of its employees.

The conditions at the Hansae factory, detailed in 113 pages in the report, are shameful. We would further press to ask why NIKE would for so long refuse entry to the WRC and further why Nike has not promised future entry.

In considering a contract with this company, we ask the administration to consider the implications of that. In representing Penn State, we further ask you as the administration to consider the workers who suffer to make our apparel.

Consider what we want to allow Penn State to be associated with. Consider the values that bring us together as a university. As proud Penn Staters, this logo means something to us. It represents our communal values, our collegiate pride, and all aspects of what it means to hold a Penn State degree. We don’t want our logo to represent pain for those who produce it. We don’t want our beliefs, experience, and values marred by NIKE.

In so many regards, this university has chosen to stand up for its values in the face of adversity, and we would hope that this administration would continue to do so. We understand the scope you as administrators face in making these decisions, and we respect your ideas and experience. However as students, we cannot stand by as we watch our fellow man’s rights violated.

Dignity shouldn’t be dictated by national origin. Opportunity shouldn’t be limited simply by birthplace. We are proud to attend a university we believe shares these ideas, and celebrates diversity, but we believe our apparel should be representative of that.

In solidarity,

United Students Against Sweatshops, LOCAL 123

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