Duke Won’t License Sweatshop Products
The makers of items that carry Duke University logos soon will be required to sign a pledge that they don’t use sweatshop labor.
“It’s important for us, as an institution, to ensure that people who are manufacturing products bearing our (trade)marks are conducting themselves in an ethical manner,” said Jim Wilkerson, director of Duke Stores operations and trademark licensing.
The code of conduct being worked on by Duke and Collegiate Licensing Co., which negotiates trademark deals for 160 universities, will require companies to fully disclose working conditions in their factories.
At the urging of student leaders, Duke is one of a handful of schools, including Notre Dame, revising their contracts to include a code of conduct for manufacturers, said Bruce Siegal, Collegiate Licensing vice president and general counsel.
On Friday, students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill met with former basketball coach Dean Smith about alleged working conditions in Nike’s overseas factories. Nike has contracts with both Smith and Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Twenty Duke students helped nudge the university forward with a late-September campaign to raise campus awareness. The “Students Against Sweatshops” campaign has more than 30 university chapters around the country.