The U.S. Department of Labor wants to make sure there is no sweatshop labor in collegiate sweatshirts.
The Labor Department and the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History sponsored ``No Sweat University: Labor Standards and Codes of Conduct,'' a forum for the collegiate trademark industry, Tuesday in Washington D.C. Kansas University was among the dozens of colleges and universities invited to the one-day meeting on creating a national code of conduct for factories that make collegiate-logo products.
Paul Vander Tuig, the KU trademark licensing administrator, attended.
``I think the direction KU is going in is to be a player in forming a national code of conduct,'' Tom Hutton, director of University Relations, said. ``The Jayhawk is copyrighted and the university makes a strong effort to be sure the items that bear the Jayhawk are appropriate. We take trademark licensing very seriously.''
The forum brought together members of the Labor Department, college officials and students, union officials, human rights activists, garment industry executives, representatives of the College Licensing Co. and retailers for panel discussions.
The Jayhawk appears on a lot of merchandise, Hutton said. In fiscal year 1997, that meant $20 million worth of retail sales -- the 14th highest total among schools in the nation.
``There are many items that are licensed through the university,'' he said. ``Some schools don't make a lot of efforts to either market their logos or protect their logos. ... KU isn't one of those.''
KU is second in the Big 12 athletic conference in merchandise sales, he said.
No one university could make much of an impact on the problem of sweatshop labor. But a large group of schools could have leverage, Hutton said.
``This is not just a KU issue,'' he said. ``This is everybody.''
The school- and team-apparel industry brings in $2.5 billion a year.
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