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Penn State Suspends Contract with Adidas

After recent controversy and protest, Penn State has suspended its contract with Adidas for 60 days, effective immediately.

“Members of the Penn State community, including students, faculty and administration, have engaged in collaborative discussion and decision-making for months regarding the very important issues raised by the closure of the PT Kizone factory in Indonesia in 2011,” Penn State President Rodney Erickson said in a letter issued to Adidas March 13. “It is obvious to us that there are profound limits to our University’s influence over the substantial and complex issues created by the current supply chain model for the global manufacture of apparel.  Even so, we are determined to do our share to redress shortcomings where we find them and encourage our licensees to behave responsibly and justly vis-a-vis the workers who produce their products in our name.”

Penn State United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) have been protesting Penn State’s contract with Adidas over recent days, amid allegations of workers’ rights violations. The company had been accused of not paying 2,700 unemployed workers $1.8 million in owed severance pay in Indonesia.

During the 60 day suspension, Adidas will not be permitted to produce any items that include the Penn State logo. If Adidas does not remedy the situation in Indonesia, the university will likely terminate the contract entirely. The agreement is rather small, with Penn State only netting $6,800 in royalties during the last fiscal year.

“True change in the context of the manufacture of collegiate apparel requires the immediate attention of Adidas and other global corporations that benefit from this market.  Penn State’s influence in this context is limited, but this action signals that our commitment is genuine and that we seek to apply our limited influence in the only effective way we can,” Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims said.

You can read President Erickson’s letter to Adidas below.

Adidas Letter

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About the Author

Kevin Horne

Kevin Horne was the editor of Onward State from 2012-2014 and currently holds the position of Managing Editor Emeritus, which is a fake title he made up. He graduated from Penn State with degrees journalism and political science in 2014 and is currently seeking his J.D. at the Penn State Dickinson School of Law. A third generation Penn Stater from Williamsport, Pa., Kevin is also the president of the graduate student government. Email: [email protected]

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