LOUISVILLE, Ky. – University of Louisville administrators have asked representatives of the student group Cards United Against Sweatshops (CUAS) to participate in the university’s ongoing review of its contract with JanSport and other companies who hold licenses to make UofL logoed clothing.
UofL President James Ramsey, Provost Shirley Willihnganz, Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration Harlan Sands and Dean of Students Michael Mardis made the offer during an hour-long meeting with 16 members of the student group this afternoon.
Leaders of the student group refused to say whether they would join a committee which will include representatives from student government, athletics and the contracting office. Ramsey said the committee will quickly review all issues involving the licensees and come forward with a recommendation to the administration. That process will take place with or without CUAS participation, according to Ramsey.
“We appreciate the students’ passion on this issue,” said Ramsey. “And if they truly wish to reach their goals, they will come to the table and be part of the process with us.”
The university continues to review all current contracts with vendors, including those that provide clothing for retail outlets, as part of its regular review process.
University administrators have met a half dozen times with leaders of the student group and worked with them on a number of initiatives to ensure its licensees are supportive of worker safety efforts. UofL has agreed to require all its licensees that make clothing in Bangladesh to sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety which calls for independent safety inspections of factories.
Also at the CUAS’ request, UofL has been stocking clothing from Alta Gracia Apparel, a clothing company in the Dominican Republic that pays a living wage to its workers.