Anti-sweatshop group files suit

The president of UH Students Against Sweatshops, Timothy O’Brien, filed a lawsuit on behalf of SAS against UH System Chancellor Renu Khator, psychology professor Donald Foss and five members of the UH Apparel Task Force.

The suit is filed for damages over an alleged false statement made in the task force’s July 2 Final Report, which stated ‘the Task Force agreed with a report of the UH Students Against Sweatshops that there likely will be little impact from joining (Workers Rights Consortium) or the (Designated Suppliers’ Program).’

The task force report was on its investigation of the University’s ties to sweatshops and its methods for ensuring ethical conditions in the manufacture of University apparel.

In an April 2008 address to the task force, O’Brien said that UH should both join the WRC and sign the DSP agreement, and that SAS supported the effort to join. A video of this presentation is available at

The task force report recommended that the University join the WRC and the Fair Labor Association and advised against signing the DSP because of concerns about its ‘effectiveness and legality.’

The task force’s investigation resulted in ‘no direct evidence that showed the University to be knowingly, or even unintentionally, engaged in the sale or licensing of trademarked products manufactured under sweatshop conditions.’

The case’s defendants include economics professor Steven Craig, chair of the UH Apparel Task Force, associate dean of the UH Law Center Richard Alderman, Center for Public Policy director and political science associate professor Jim Granato, political science professor Harrell Rodgers Jr., University Center director Keith Kowalka and accounting professor Saleha Khumawala.

SAS will provide further details on the suit at a press conference at noon today in front of the M.D. Anderson Memorial Library.

The UH Apparel Task Force Final Report can be found online at .

Information on SAS can be found at

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