Nearly Nude Penn Staters Protest Sweatshop Labor

March 28, 2006

Twenty Penn State students staged a nearly naked protest on Monday against what they said was the university’s ties to apparel companies that use sweatshop labor, The Digital Collegian, a student newspaper, reported this morning. With the protesters wearing skin-colored underwear or using strategically placed signs, “there was no nudity—except for a little behind,” as one student put it.

Penn State is a member of the Worker Rights Consortium, a nonprofit group created by college officials, students, and labor activists to enforce a code of conduct requiring factories that produce goods with college logos to respect the basic rights of their workers.

The latest phase in the group’s campaign for worker rights is to monitor factories that supply basic materials for such goods, not just the plants where finished products are assembled, and to certify that such facilities pay a living wage and allow labor unions (The Chronicle, March 8). The University of Wisconsin at Madison, a fellow Big Ten institution, is taking the lead in that effort (The Chronicle, January 5).