Campus Labor Group Issues Ultimatum to Rudenstine

In the wake of sit-ins at other colleges and increased anger at the lack of progress in negotiations with the University, members of the Progressive Student Labor Movement (PSLM) sent a letter to University President Neil L. Rudenstine last Thursday demanding that the school adopt an anti-sweat-shop code of conduct.

"We've basically given the Ivy presidents an ultimatum with that letter," said PSLM member Daniel M. Hennefeld '99.

The letter, which was sent to the presidents of all the Ivy League schools, asks the schools to revise their labor code so that manufacturers are required to disclose the location of their factories and non-governmental organizations inspect work conditions.

The letter also demands that the universities allow students to participate in the implementation of a labor code and calls on the schools to study the issue of paying a living wage to factory workers.

Members said they are taking their demands directly to Rudenstine because other efforts to negotiate with the University have failed.


"We feel betrayed and we feel left out," said PSLM member Benjamin O. Shuldiner '99. "After negotiating, after a year of this, we need to go to the president."

Members suggest that if Rudenstine does not respond to their demands by March 8, they may consider more drastic action.

"There's a Faculty meeting on [March 9] and we've taken note of that," said PSLM member Benjamin L. McKean '02.

Shuldiner said sit-ins have already proven effective at Duke, Georgetown, and the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where protesters have won concessions from the schools.

"Those universities were taken over by their students, but within three days of the takeovers, all three of those universities have signed codes of conduct or letters saying they will," he said.

But Harvard University is making no promises regarding the demands.

"This particular letter raises a number of issues that I think [Rudenstine] will want to respond to or have me respond to," said Allan A. Ryan, Jr., an attorney in the University's Office of the General Counsel who has served as Harvard's chief negotiator on this issue.

"But the date of March 8 is just a couple ofdays before the next Ivy meeting on this, so itmay not be by that deadline," he added.

According to Ryan, the University is unlikelyto negotiate a separate agreement on laborpolicies with PSLM until the Ivy League schoolsdecide whether to take some sort of uniform actionon the issue.

And he is non-committal about students' specificdemands.

"Students have changed my thinking and[Rudenstine]'s thinking on some issues," he said."Whether they will change it on every issue theywant to change it, we'll have to wait and see."

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