Statement on the Proposed Designated Suppliers Program

April 13, 2006

Dear students,

Yesterday, Columbia University was invited to participate in the Designated Suppliers Program Working Group Meeting taking place in Washington D.C. on April 21.

Columbia was invited to participate in the Working Group due to its expressed support of the general goals and principles sponsored by the Columbia chapter of the United Students Against Sweatshops and embodied in the proposed Designated Supplier Program (DSP), especially the efforts to ensure that University-logo apparel workers are paid non-poverty wages sufficient to cover their family's basic needs and are legitimately represented in negotiations with their employers.

Columbia 's participation in the Working Group meetings will allow the University to join the 10 other schools who have similarly expressed their support in addressing the significant economic, legal, and logistical challenges presented in implementing and sustaining such an effort. 

In addition to its membership in the Workers Rights Consortium and the Fair Labor Association, as well as its adherence to the codes of conduct already in place, Columbia is committed to pursuing appropriate actions to advance these objectives.  Toward this end, the University Senate's External Relations Subcommittee has undertaken a serious study of the DSP proposal, as well as its broader implications.  The final report will be issued to the full Senate on Friday, May 5.

With Columbia 's participation in the Working Group meetings, bolstered by the advice of the University's Senate, we look forward to transforming our shared principles into action and will continue to work with others to actively identify a practical, lawful, and effective implementation plan that is consistent with the goals of the University.


Lee C. Bollinger