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Duke Students Want Anti-Sweatshop Guarantee

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DURHAM — Following a movement under way at 30 colleges and universities across the country, Duke University students want anyonewho makesproducts licensed with the Duke logo to tell exactly how and where theclothing is made. They hope to ensure that the hats, shorts, sweatshirtsand other products sporting the university logo have not been manufacturedin sweatshops.

Products bearing university emblems have been getting even moreattention lately thanthe promotion-oriented items are intended to draw.

At theUniversity of North Carolina, it's the uniforms and footgear suppliedby Nike, which has also provided $7.1 million for the school's 28 athletics programs if they use Nike gear exclusively. A group of UNCstudents claims the company, famous for the swoosh, is also infamous forforcingits employees in Southeast Asia to work in sweatshop-like conditions,underpays the workers and mistreats them.

Nike has already cut ties with four Indonesian plants it deemed as"sweatshops." Nike Chairman Phil Knight made theannouncement in September after visiting several of its Asian plants.Otherfactories in Korea and Vietnam made the cut. In fact, a study by DartmouthCollege found Nike workers had higher than average annual incomes compared to other factoryworkers in Asia.

Students Against Sweatshops is a grass-roots organization that haschaptersat 30 different universitites. Each school is developing its ownagreement.

The code of conduct would affect products that have both theDuke name and the license granted by the university to approved manufacturers.Logo-emblazoned merchandise produced by manufacturers who do not obtainthe requisite university permission would not be reached by the code.

Student Adam Sommer said he thinks people buy things without knowingwhere they come from. He thinks Students Against Sweatshops will raiseawareness.

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