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History of sweatshop protests at SU, 2000-2001


Students who casually wandered through the quad on March 24, 2000 were in for a surprise. Twelve Syracuse University students were riding around mostly naked (some in underwear) on various mountain bikes, covered only by signs. In addition to the signs, some of the riders also had written on their bare bodies in marker. Many of these students represented the Students Coalition on Organized Labor (SCOOL), a group of student activists that protested against unfair labor policies.  When asked about the unique protest, Pat O’ Leary, a member of SCOOL, claimed, “We would rather go naked than wear sweatshop-labored clothes.”1 They circled the quad in protest of SU’s hesitation to join the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC), and to end the school’s affiliation with Nike Inc., a company accused of using sweatshops to manufacture collegiate apparel. There were various events held throughout the week such as candlelight vigils, a mock sweatshop and various theater performances. The mock sweatshop was accompanied by a shanty town whose purpose was to demonstrate the real life conditions of workers in third-world countries.2