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Anti-Sweatshop Activists Clash with USC Football Fans

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  • Clore Daniel C
    Anti-sweatshop activists clash with USC football fans during homecoming protest Updated 12:00 PM ET October 30, 2000 By Robb Ferris Daily Trojan U. Southern
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 31, 2000
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      Anti-sweatshop activists clash with USC football fans during
      homecoming protest

      Updated 12:00 PM ET October 30, 2000

      By Robb Ferris
      Daily Trojan
      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
      sides.

      "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.

      --
      ---------------------------------------------------
      Dan Clore

      The Website of Lord Weÿrdgliffe:
      http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/9879/index.html
      The Dan Clore Necronomicon Page:
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      "Tho-ag in Zhi-gyu slept seven Khorlo. Zodmanas
      zhiba. All Nyug bosom. Konch-hog not; Thyan-Kam
      not; Lha-Chohan not; Tenbrel Chugnyi not;
      Dharmakaya ceased; Tgenchang not become; Barnang
      and Ssa in Ngovonyidj; alone Tho-og Yinsin in
      night of Sun-chan and Yong-grub (Parinishpanna),
      &c., &c.,"
      -- The Book of Dzyan.
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