Monday, April 7, 2008

President Richmond's Response - April 7th

The following is the actual response from President Rollin Richmond, April 7th 2008. This letter was in response to a student request that, Humboldt State University endorse the principles of the Designated Supplier's Proposal, as well as entailing conditions. In order to endorse the principles of the Designated Supplier's Proposal, we need a representative of HSU to publish a public letter, announcing their intentions.

This letter, in no way, endorses the Designated Supplier's Proposal. Criticisms can be found in our corresponding response letter

---Start---

Dear Humboldt United Students Against Sweatshops:

Thank you for the opportunity to talk with some of you in my office
two weeks ago and for the package of letters you delivered today. I
propose that I sign the following letter and send it to you as a
public statement.


Dear Humboldt United Students against Sweatshops:

The Humboldt State University graduation pledge asks graduating
students to consider the social and environmental ramifications of
their choice of careers as they enter the workforce. Unfortunately,
the use of sweatshops throughout the world exposes people, including
children, to harmful working conditions in order to provide
inexpensive apparel. The university believes that positive changes
to improve working conditions begin with the knowledge and education
of our students, staff and faculty. The ongoing issue of sweatshops
and the companies that support them needs to be studied and addressed
by an independent organization with the ability to assess working
conditions, communicate with the apparel industry, and propose ways
to bring meaningful change to these practices. We hope that in the
process of trying to change these working conditions, we do not
deprive people of the opportunity of working in an industry that can
assist them to improve their and their families futures.

Change comes through leadership, and I appreciate your recommendation
that the university become affiliated with the Designated Supplier's
Proposal (DSP). The DSP is an independent initiative dedicated to
ending sweatshop exploitation. I understand that the DSP is in the
final stages of development, with legal and operational details still
being developed. When the Designated Supplier's Proposal is complete
and accepted by the Designated Suppliers Working Group, please
forward a copy to my office. In partnership with our students, the
university would be supportive of developing an affiliation with the
DSP in its efforts to provide effective, ethical and independent
leadership that will educate and communicate both to the apparel
industry and consumers the consequences sweatshops have on people's
lives throughout the world.

Thank you for your continuing leadership on this issue.

Sincerely,

Rollin C. Richmond, President

I am attaching two documents that provide some of the rationale for
this decision. The first is a copy of a recent article from The
Chronicle of Higher Education that deals with the DSP issue. The
second is a revised copy of the DSP that I presume is the most recent
version. If you know otherwise, please let me know.

I was disappointed to be given a copy of a flier that I was told your
group distributed on campus recently. While your group apparently
characterizes the administration of HSU as lethargic, others argue
that we are proposing too much change. You have adopted a worthy
cause; I urge not to debase your effort by adopting inaccurate, ad
hominem tactics.

Rollin

Chronicle Article

---End---

1 comment:

david said...

President Richmond,
I encourage you as a leader to concentrate on all the reasons why you can stand up for workers who make our apparel rather than thinking of excuses why you can’t. We already know most of the students at HSU would be supportive of developing an affiliation with the DSP. What about You? With the help of the ethical leadership of USAS groups and WRC we can educate our community and communicate both to the apparel industry and consumers the consequences sweatshops have on people's lives throughout the world. The ongoing issue of sweatshops and the companies that support them needs to be studied and addressed by you, me, and everybody. You have the ability to show the type of leadership that will make a difference in this school, which will influence thousands of students, who will enter the workforce in other areas and know how to make positive changes in the world. Changing the working conditions of sweatshops gives people the opportunity to work to improve their and their family’s futures. When this university supports the principles of the Designated Suppliers Program (DSP) by signing on we help it become more widely accepted. It’s as simple as this, if you are truly and advocate for safe, decent working conditions for those who manufacture University-licensed apparel you will join the other progressive schools in the county by signing on. Prove that Humboldt State University expresses its commitment to conducting its business affairs in a socially responsible and ethical manner through our actions and doesn’t just claim it in words.
Sincerely,
David Carter President of HUSAS