Anti-Sweatshop Activists Clash with USC Football Fans
- Anti-sweatshop activists clash with USC football fans during
Updated 12:00 PM ET October 30, 2000
By Robb Ferris
U. Southern California
(U-WIRE) LOS ANGELES -- Clad only in underwear and cardboard
signs for Saturday's Homecoming festivities, members of the
Student Coalition Against Labor Exploitation protested the
alleged manufacturing of University of Southern California
apparel in sweatshops.
Surrounded by students and alumni many of whom were sporting
USC sweatshirts, T-shirts and baseball caps the nearly two
dozen students outside the Pertusati University Bookstore
were both supported criticized by on-lookers.
"There are people here who are supportive, and then there
are people here who are being very vocal about not-caring,"
said Lizzy Kirkham an undeclared freshman at Pitzer College
who was participating in the protest. "What does it say
about your school when they support sweatshop clothing?"
As the protesters waved their banner reading "Nothing is
better than sweatshop clothing" an employee of the garment
company Champion, who happened to be present at Homecoming,
began to argue with the protesters, saying that the little
clothing they were wearing may have been made under
sweatshop conditions as well.
"For them to stand behind something is good," said Brian
Bockler, an employee for the company that produces apparel
for USC. "But to come out here wearing Calvin Klein, Vans
and Adidas is hypocritical. They need to do their research
and understand the whole picture. I don't think that it's
fair for them to portray these companies like this without
giving them a chance to defend themselves."
SCALE's protest followed a recent teachin wherein the
group's concerns regarding investigations into USC's labor
policies were discussed by panelists and members. USC
recently released a report conducted by the monitoring
organization Verité detailing the conditions found in many
of the factories licensed by the university to produce the
merchandise sold in the bookstore.
University officials say that SCALE's concerns are
over-exaggerated. Contradicting arguments and the obscurity
of factory locations have made the debate unclear for both
"At least we're doing something about it" said James
Nussbamer, a junior majoring in communication and political
science who participated in the protest.
Shortly following the argument between SCALE members and
Bockler, the Department of Public Safety asked the
protesters to move elsewhere. SCALE members reluctantly
agreed but felt that the decision was a response to growing
tension between protesters and tailgating football fans.
"People have been responding very apathetically," said Danny
Turner-Lloveras, an undeclared sophomore and an active
member of SCALE. "They know that there is a good chance that
their clothes are made in sweatshops, but they don't want to
hear about it. They just turn their pupils away from the
sight of us and turn their attention from our words."
SCALE has been at odds with the university over a number of
issues including the university's refusal to join the
Worker's Rights Consortium, an independent labor
organization, and USC's hesitation to disclose the locations
of licensed factories. The university is currently
affiliated with the Fair Labor Association.
While some attending Homecoming festivities signed the
petitions handed out by protesters, others ignored the
slogans and signs.
"It's sad because these people are the main buying power
here, and they don't care about where their clothes are
coming from." Turner-Lloveras said.
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The Dan Clore Necronomicon Page:
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and Ssa in Ngovonyidj; alone Tho-og Yinsin in
night of Sun-chan and Yong-grub (Parinishpanna),
-- The Book of Dzyan.