LOC recommends University sever ties with Adidas

IMG_1849Georgetown’s Licensing and Oversight Committee recommended Friday that the University terminate its sportswear contract with Adidas no later than December 15, due to the company’s mistreatment of workers at an Indonesian factory.

The LOC is a board of students and administrators who make recommendations to the president president “regarding the University’s relationships with the collegiate products and apparel industry stakeholders.” The group gave the recommendation three weeks after members of the Georgetown Solidarity Committee delivered a letter and petition to President John J. DeGioia asking the University to put pressure on Adidas by ending the contract.

172 students signed the second petition. This is not the first time GSC delivered a letter and petition to President DeGioia, and the second action was part of an effort to remind the University that students are not stepping down from the issue.

“This is an important step in a campaign that has been going on for over a year in response to Adidas’ mistreatment of workers at a factory in Indonesia,” GSC announced in a press release. “Adidas violated Georgetown’s Code of Conduct for Licensees, as well as Indonesian labor law by failing to pay $1.8 million in legally owed severance to the factory workers of PT Kizone.”

Cornell University decided not to renew its contract with Adidas as well in mid-September. The university’s president David Skorton released a letter stating, “We believe that severance is a basic worker’s right as are a living wage, freedom of association and safe working conditions,” according to the Cornell Sun. Last week, Oberlin College also agreed not to renew its contract. Oberlin and Cornell are the only universities as of yet in the country to sever their ties with Adidas.

The LOC recommendation is non-binding but should “not be taken lightly,” according to the GSC press release, as it is based on knowledge of licensing issues and the school’s Code of Conduct. The decision to terminate the contract lies with the President’s office, and the GSC is “confident” they will follow the LOC’s advisement.

“Student engagement has been instrumental in compelling the administration to prioritize this issue and remains vital to ensuring that the University acts on the LOC’s recommendation,” the press release read.

Full text of press release below:

On Friday, October 12th, after long and careful consideration, the Licensing and Oversight Committee (“LOC”) formally recommended to the office of the President that Georgetown University terminate its contract with adidas no later than December 15th.

This is an important step in a campaign that has been going on for over a year in response to adidas’ mistreatment of workers at a factory in Indonesia. Adidas violated Georgetown’s Code of Conduct for Licensees, as well as Indonesian labor law, by failing to pay $1.8 million in legally owed severance to the factory workers of PT Kizone.  

The Licensing and Oversight Committee serves as an advisory body to the President’s office composed of administrators, faculty, and students. It is charged with the primary responsibility of overseeing the legal and ethical issues that surround Georgetown licensing. The Committee has the ability to recommend a course of action to the University, and to President DeGioia, in order to ensure that the companies that Georgetown licenses abide by the University’s Code of Conduct. An LOC recommendation, albeit non-binding, is based on extensive knowledge and understanding of specific licensing issues and should not be taken lightly.

The decision to cut the contract ultimately rests with the President’s office, and it is now incumbent on President DeGioia to follow through on the recommendation. The Solidarity Committee is confident that the President will take the LOC’s recommendation, in keeping with Georgetown’s tradition as a national leader in worker justice issues. Georgetown would be only the third university to take action against adidas because of their violation of worker rights, following Cornell, which cut its contract, and Oberlin, which refused to renew.

This campaign has generated substantial student support, culminating most recently in a petition signed by 172 students demanding that the University cut the contract. Student engagement has been instrumental in compelling the administration to prioritize this issue and remains vital to ensuring that the University acts on the LOC’s recommendation.

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