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Isabel Piedmont
Conference Steering Committee

Last modified: Thursday, September 22, 2005

IUB to host conference on "The University and Fair Trade"

Sept. 22, 2005

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- "The tremendous purchasing power of universities opens an opportunity for universities and university communities to promote corporate social accountability and tangible social change in the areas of human rights, labor rights and environmental protection," says Christiana Ochoa, a professor in the Indiana University School of Law-Bloomington and a panelist at the upcoming conference, "The University and Fair Trade."

The conference, to be hosted by IU's Anti-Sweatshop Advisory Committee on Sept. 29-30 on the IU Bloomington campus, will explore Ochoa's assertion. Among the questions to be asked are how universities can use their purchasing power to promote positive change for workers, and how they can support workers' rights in factories that produce goods with university logos. The conference is free and open to the public.

Featured speakers include university professors, student anti-sweatshop activists, university licensing directors and the director of the Workers Rights Consortium.

Speakers during the first session on Sept. 29, 1-2:15 p.m. in Ballantine Hall 004, will review the working conditions of many in the garment industry, the biggest industrial sector manufacturing university-licensed products.

The second session, 3-5 p.m. in Ballantine Hall 004, will discuss "What is fair trade?" and will feature IU's Ochoa, economist Mehrene Larudee of DePaul University, and Scott Nova, executive director of the WRC.

On Sept. 30, the conference will continue from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. in Ballantine Hall 004 with a session on what universities currently are doing to promote workers' rights. Current licensing codes of conduct and their implementation at Indiana University, the University of Notre Dame and Duke University will be detailed.

The final Friday session, scheduled for 1-3 p.m., will move to Woodburn Hall 007. Speakers will propose additional steps that universities can take in support of fair trade and to further support the rights of workers around the world.

The IU Anti-Sweatshop Advisory Committee was formed shortly after the IU licensing department adopted a licensee code of conduct in 2000. This code requires that all companies which hold a license to sell products with the IU name or logo must ensure that workplaces where the products are produced meet minimum standards of workers' rights and safety.

The IU advisory committee meets regularly throughout the academic year to discuss factory reports which suggest that these minimum standards are not being met. These reports are generally forwarded to IU by the Workers Rights Consortium, a national non-profit organization with more than 130 affiliated colleges and universities. The WRC works with non-governmental agencies in countries throughout the world to monitor workplace conditions.

For full details about speakers, session times and locations, please see

For more information, contact Isabel Piedmont of the IU Anti-Sweatshop Conference Steering Committe at 812-855-5458 or