To the Editor: The headline of the article "Profs: Do not yield to activist pressure," (The Daily Pennsylvanian, 9/15/00) was misleading. As the article pointed out, a select group of economists and lawyers wrote a letter arguing against "caving too quickly" to the current student activism. This says nothing about professors throughout the U.S. and the world, who may or may not support current anti-sweatshop activism. However, the group's call for due consideration of campus economic issues is more than welcome. While activists today have prompted a long overdue dialogue on sweatshop issues, there has been little, if any, careful consideration of the effects of corporate influence on our university or on our own economic practices. Moreover, what discussion has taken place has never been open to the university community. I am sure that top scholars have numerous insights into these issues which could help us hammer out prudent policy. Following the logic of the group of economists and lawyers mentioned in the article, we should immediately move to hold deliberations on the practice of naming rooms in our buildings after multinational corporations, the subsidization of for-profit corporate budgets by our research labs, how our course offerings are influenced by corporate funds, the appropriateness of members of our administration and Board of Trustees serving on the boards of corporations which have interests in the practices of Penn, our provision or lack thereof of living wages for all Penn employees, the level of investment of the Penn endowment in private prison corporations and regimes that use slave labor, the utilization of products produced by prisoners and slaves and our level of support for Article 23 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that, "Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests." As the group suggests, let's consult leading scholars on these issues and hold open forums to let all voices be heard! Then, after due time, let's craft careful policies to address all of the concerns of the university community. Unfortunately, no such deliberations will occur, and these economists and lawyers have indicated no desire for such vital issues to be considered. Their letter calling for more careful review of sweatshop issues is obviously not without its own bias and agenda.
Michael Janson Ph.D. candidate Political Science Department
To the Editor: It will be interesting to watch the reaction of Penn Students Against Sweatshops and other anti-sweatshop student activist groups to the $100 million endorsement contract Tiger Woods signed with Nike. This contract should dispel any doubts about the obscene profits gouged from the exploitation of cheap foreign labor and the conspicuous consumption of Americans. Rather than fighting about membership in the FLA or WRC, why don't these activists take on Tiger Woods and Nike? It would certainly generate more potent publicity for their cause and maybe even educate American consumers, especially if they can resist the urge to demean their protest to petty, personal attacks.
Peter Watko Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology To the Editor: I, like I am certain many have before me, am writing in response to Brian Cope's column concerning the athletics at Penn ("Too costly at any price, DP, 9/18/00). With our president's salary upward of half a million dollars, it's hard to find logic in Cope's argument to strip Penn athletes of the activities they love to do to save money. Like picking up a copy of the DP, all non-championship sporting events around campus, with the exception of basketball, are free to students. Call it a little favor for which we pay $30,000 a year. Take your $2.5 million deficit, divide it by 10,000 students and tack an extra $250 on to everyone's tuition. (Or better yet, it can be added to those mysterious university fees that no one can figure out.) Then Cope's financial problem would be solved. However, it seems like there is more to Cope's problem than the loss of University money. He seems disgusted to look to his left in his 9:00 recitation to see a sweaty individual in his heavy grays because he hasn't had time to shower after his 8-mile morning run. Before graduating in May, I got these looks often from people just like you, Brian. These people never deserved more than a few seconds worth of my thoughts; not then, in class, and most certainly not when I was on the line at the NCAAs. I would like to think that a No. 3 rank and 1470 SATs would have earned me a spot at Penn, whether I could run fast or not. In the end it doesn't matter; I was, and am, grateful that I got in, but I'm most grateful that Penn gave me the opportunity to be a member of an Ivy League championship team and to have numerous other team and individuals successes in my sport. This is what I have taken from Penn, and I am grateful, just as you can be grateful for your opportunity to write for the best college newspaper in the country.
Scott Clayton College '00Comments powered by Disqus
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