Post Classifieds

Finally, Some Rights

By Ryan Lavalley
On September 22, 2011

The students of Xavier University spoke, and the administration heard. After multiple emails, a freeze

mob and finally a petition with over 135 names was turned into Father Graham along with a letter

that cordially asked him to affiliate our University with the Worker's Rights Consortium

(WRC), we the students have achieved our goal. Over the summer the administration went

through the process of becoming a WRC affiliate and as of this moment we are the 180th

University nationwide to become affiliated with the independent workers' rights monitoring agency.

But what does this mean for our University? As a University that "seeks to

develop…a worldview that is oriented to responsible action and recognizes the intrinsic value of

the natural and human values" we are called to continue working for change within our University,

within our community and within our world. The administration has begun a relationship that now

relies on both the students' and the administration's cooperation to ensure Xavier's growth in encouraging its Jesuit ideals, protecting and furthering the dignity of the human person, moving toward

more just business practices and finally engaging our University in a national network that is capable

of huge change. Through cooperation between United Students Against Sweatshops, the WRC and universities across the United States, change can happen. For example in 2010, after Nike was faced with a contract cut by the University of Wisconsin, Madison, multiple threats to do the same by other

universities, student protests and a large scale social movement called "Just Pay It", Nike compensated workers in Honduras who lost their jobs without severance by paying $1.54 million as well as claiming to create more job opportunity for workers. This was only possible because the workers' voices were echoed throughout the WRC's affiliate schools and amplified by the students struggling for workers' rights. Now that this University has joined the WRC network, we have

a responsibility to continue working for the rights of those individuals making clothing, mugs, key

chains, lanyards and anything else that bears the X. This does not mean staging an insurgency against

the corporate apparel companies of our time, but rather working with and pressuring the companies

to change their methodology. We as students and administrators must be vigilant in responding to

the reports that the WRC sends. If we work to cooperate with this national network, we can become

a part of the change we are taught is so desperately needed within our world. Many times we are burdened by the overwhelming nature of the world's injustices, but working with our own University and

making changes in our local corner of the world can have a global effect.

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