Duke Protesters, School Officials Reach Agreement
Posted January 28, 1999
DURHAM — Taking a page from the campus sit-ins of the 60s, a group of Duke students marched into the office of the Duke President and refused to leave for 31 hours.
The Duke chapter of Students Against Sweatshops was locked in Friday night to convince Duke President Nannerl Keohane not to sign asweatshop monitoring codethey say was unacceptable.
The effort was a success. Saturday, the students and school officials reached an agreement to mandate full disclosure within the next 12 months of the names, cities and street addresses of all factories that make licensed Duke products.
Duke officials confirm that they will challenge exemption assertions made by manufacturers and, if unsuccessful, will not renew contracts with those manufacturers.
The students consented to Duke signing the Collegiate Licensing Company code subject to the stipulations agreed to Saturday. A copy of the agreement was attached.
"It is true that I see it is flawed because I would much prefer full disclosure," Keohane said. "I don't think we are in a position to do anything better than we are now on the living wage, but I would like to see full disclosure."
Duke's code originally called for collegiate apparel manufacturers to disclose their factories. A new code does not, but Keohane sees it as a first step.
"I believe that if we take it as [a first step], and don't back down from our focus and our pressure and our intensity of interest, then we can make more steps," she said.
One student had a personal reason to protest.
"I have spent time in Nicaragua, where I've been to places where sweatshops are," says Sara Jewett with the Student Against Sweatshops. "I've seen the faces of these people, I know how they live."
Other campuses across the country such as Georgetown also protested the sweatshop codes.