Two weeks after 17 students were arrested in a similar protest, members of the Make UT Sweatshop-Free Coalition conducted another sit-in yesterday.
The sit-in was held in the University of Texas Tower with more than 40 students participating. At about 5 p. m. yesterday, the students left the Tower after warnings from police they could be arrested, said the Austin American-Statesman. At 8 p.m. on Sunday night, a candlelight vigil of students, faculty and community members convened in front of UT Austin President Bill Powers’ house; the vigil was led by Pastor Jim Rigby.
As KUT News previously reported, the coalition wants UT to join the Workers Rights Consortium, an independent monitoring organization that conducts investigations of working conditions in factories. A statement on the WRC homepage specifically mentions their goal to protect the rights of workers who make clothes.
The switch would cost UT approximately half a percent of their merchandise licensing revenue, which the University has refused to pay, according to a press release from the student organization. UT currently uses the Fair Labor Association to audit and track the factories that produce its apparel.
According to the student organization, President Powers refuses to meet with the coalition; reportedly, students have been barred from entering the Tower in attempts to deliver letters in support of the campaign.