Sent by: Bob Broedel [log in to unmask]
THE WESTCOTT TWELVE and UNITED STUDENTS AGAINST SWEATSHOPS
Letters of solidarity with the FSU Students Against Sweatshops
can be sent to: [log in to unmask]
This past Monday, 12 members of the Florida State University chapter
of Students Against Sweatshops were arrested protesting FSU's refusal
to join the Worker Rights Consortium. The WRC is a grassroots
organization that monitors conditions in factories manufacturing
licensed apparel that displays university logos. FSU is one of the
country's largest licensers (the university receives $1.7 million
annually from licensing fees) so its failure to join the 95 colleges
and universities that support the WRC is particularly notable.
The position that FSU should join the Worker Rights Consortium has
been endorsed by resolutions passed by the Faculty Senate and the
Student Senate. These resolutions followed upon a year long study by
a joint faculty/student committee appointed by the Faculty Senate.
To date, students' legal expenses have been small ($600 in bail bond
fees) but they may rise considerably. A legal defense fund has been
established to provide for the students who, along with their
supporters, are now living in a tent city on Landis Green and
subsisting on food donations.
For more information on the anti-sweatshop movement, the arrest, and
ongoing protests, as well as information on how to make a contribution
to the legal defense fund, visit the website at http://www.westcott12.org .
Please circulate this message to other colleagues who might be
supportive of this effort.
Associated Press 03.27.02
Florida State students arrested for protesting outside 'free-speech
By The Associated Press 03.27.02
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. Twelve Florida State University students were
arrested on trespassing charges after protesting what they say is
the university's support of sweatshops.
The members of the United Students Against Sweatshops had set up
tents and were planning an evening sit-down protest on March 25
when campus police arrived. The students were arrested after they
refused to move their protest to one of the school's designated
Whether disciplinary action will be taken against the students has
not been decided, said FSU spokesman David Cox.
The protesters, some carrying American flags and a sign that read,
"Your First Amendment rights don't apply here," chanted as they were
placed into patrol cars. They were booked at the Leon County Jail
and released after posting $500 bail each.
The students want Florida State to join an organization that opposes
sweatshop labor, saying the school has contracts with shoemakers who
have been accused of using overseas sweatshops.
FSU President Sandy D'Alemberte said yesterday that the accusation
that the school supports sweatshops was "pretty far-fetched."
He noted that FSU was one of the founding universities to put
together the Fair Labor Organization, which set up a monitoring
system for the manufacturers of these goods.
"We're very actively involved in human rights issues," said
D'Alemberte. "I think the students are right to worry about this
issue, but that does not translate into the university becoming a
member of their organization."
Tallahassee Democrat (FL) March 4, 2002
'PROGRESSIVE' GROUP HAS MAINSTREAM SUPPORT
Author: Melanie Yeager, DEMOCRAT STAFF WRITER
Having the backing of mainstream campus government leaders is unusual
for a group that describes its members as "progressive," a politically
correct alternative for liberal.
But Florida State University's Students Against Sweatshops has won
support for its goal from the Student Senate.
The group is lobbying FSU President Sandy D'Alemberte to join the
Workers Rights Consortium, which fights for better conditions for
"I see a lot of my peers occupying their time with unimportant and
petty things," said Jonathan Luna, a Miami sophomore majoring in
anthropology and environmental studies.
Member Steve Payne, a sophomore English major, said he wants to avoid
the stereotypical college experience of going to school to secure a
high-paying job and getting drunk every weekend.
"We're all really privileged here," Payne said. "It's important to
us, the privileged, to help people who are less privileged in the
The anti-sweatshop group, which started as an offshoot of the
school's Amnesty International club, registered as an official
campus organization in January 2001. The grass-roots effort,
however, began at least a year before that.
"It pretty much started at one person's home, sitting around with
10 or 15 people," said Tony Williams, the group's current president.
Now the group boasts 15 active members, defined by Williams as those
ready to endure at times four-hour meetings. Another 15 students are
ready to help out when possible.
Primarily, the group has focused on educating students about the
anti-sweatshop issue through fliers and a booth at Oglesby Student
Union every Wednesday.
Said Kelly Bohlander, a freshman and core leader of the group: "We
do and say what we do because we feel like it's the truth."
Copyright (c) 2002 Tallahassee Democrat