Most Georgetown sweatshirts cost about $40 in the bookstore. But, according to Ben Smith (MSB ’99), president of the Georgetown Solidarity Committee, that same sweatshirt averages only about ten cents to make. If the cost of production is that low, then who is getting all the profit, and at whose expense, Smith asks. According to Smith, following the realization by students across the country of the horrible sweatshop conditions in factories in which the apparel is made, GSC, along with several other groups nationwide, is working to ameliorate the situation. Smith said university administration has entered into a discussion with GSC in order to draft a Code of Conduct for Georgetown apparel providers, signaling concrete university support for the group’s efforts. According to Smith, “Students at universities across the nation are lobbying their universities to enact a Code of Conduct for manufacturers to curb sweatshop abuses.” Recently, the go-between for most large schools and manufacturers, the Collegiate Licensing Company, has responded to protests by forming a Task Force designed to help draft a Code of Conduct. Students, concerned economists and human rights groups were left out, leaving manufacturers the only heavily consulted group, said Smith. The consequence of this, according to Smith, is that attention to key issues was excluded. On Oct. 6, Secretary of Labor Alexis M. Herman and the U.S. Department of Labor played host to an all-day “No Sweat University” conference at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Within this forum, everyone with a stake in addressing the sweat- shop issue attended, said Smith, including athletic directors, Task Force and non-Task Force member schools, students, Nike, Reebok, other manufacturers, human rights groups, UNITE, the Collegiate Licensing Company, university presidents and Congressman George Miller (D-Calif.). “For the first time, students were given the opportunity to fully articulate their arguments about why cost-of-living analysis must be included in wage-provisions, and why there must be full public disclosure of factory locations for independent monitoring to truly work,” said Smith. To its credit, Smith said, Georgetown’s official stance agrees with that of the students. At the conference, Brian McGuire, Georgetown’s Coordinator for Marketing and Promotions emphatically supported the group, saying that a Code of Conduct must contain these two provisions if it is to work, Smith said. Smith said that Dean Donahue holds a similar position. Since the Oct. 6 conference, the Task Force has held two conference calls to work on the Draft Code of Conduct. Last night, Smith met with Dean Donahue and Joe Lang, head of the university athletic department, to discuss the latest developments. Both Donahue and McGuire have participated in Task Force discussions. Based on last night’s meeting, Smith said, the Draft Code of Conduct that was initially due to come out this week will probably not be presented until several weeks from now, because only one and-a-half of the five pages are complete. For GSC, this delay in finishing the draft, along with other developments through the conference call, appears to be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, Smith said the issu of living wages was “addressed.” Essentially, the Task Force has decided to add a footnote saying that there would be “continued study to quantify the living wage,” according to Smith. On the other hand, Smith said, the Task Force decided to include student input. Thus, the fact that the Code of Conduct’s release is not expected for another few weeks gives students a chance to have input in its drafting. According to GSC, this is only the case if the students act fast and if the Task Force is truly committed to ensuring student input in this stage of the process. “I think it’s a first step, and it opens up the door,” said Laura McSpedon (COL ’00). ” We’re cautiously optimistic, and I think the final outcome will be conditional upon our further involvement and the involvement of groups concerned with the living wage.” Olga Pierce (SFS ’01) said that “[GSC is] optimistic because it is being addressed, cautious because there are no guarantees.” “How Georgetown chooses to respond to this Code will be paramount,” Smith said. Georgetown is the biggest player on the Task Force, and distributes more college logo apparel internationally than any other school, according to Smith. oreover, this issue ties into Georgetown’s concern with pluralism and its Catholic identity, said Smith, and thus it is incumbent upon Georgetown to act. According to Smith, “a living wage is very specifically called for in `Rerum Novarum’ and other Catholic and Jesuit doctrine.” Consequently, GSC’s next major drive is to obtain university administrative support, particularly from President Leo O’Donovan, S.J., and Senior Vice President Jack DeGioia, to push other schools on the issue of living wage. But in the end, neither the Georgetown members of the Task Force, said Smith, nor the students alone, can be successful without solidarity with other schools. Director of Media Relations Dan Wackerman did not return two phone calls.

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