GV students continue Adidas contract protest

GVL/Jessica Hollenbeck

Adidas protestors speak to the general assembly

Jessica Hollenbeck

GVL/Jessica Hollenbeck Adidas protestors speak to the general assembly

Lizzy Balboa

The movement to cut Grand Valley State University’s contract with Adidas has remained firm as the students behind it appealed to the Student Senate for support on Thursday.

Following a second protest on the Allendale campus, the United Students Against Sweatshops appealed to the Student Senate at its regular meeting in an attempt to gain support.

Although the senators had no immediate or official response to the USAS members because the appeal was delivered during the public comment section, USAS President Lindsey Disler said many expressed support and appreciation for the movement following the meeting.

“Quite a few were saying they really like what we’re doing,” Disler said, adding that some verbally committed to voting in favor of a supportive resolution.

Disler and her fellow USAS members plan to meet with Ricky Benavidez, the senate’s vice president of the diversity affairs committee, on Monday to express their concerns and write up a proposal.

Senate Vice President of Public Relations Lindsay Viviano said the resolution could be brought to the senate floor as early as April 4.

Viviano said the greatest action the senate can make in the university’s reaction to the protest is to pass a resolution of support and deliver it to the faculty governance. This tactic would simply make known the wants of the student body, which may or may not prove influential in university decision-making.

Since Disler’s March 19 meeting with Vice President of Finance and Administration Jim Bachmeier, university officials have taken action to further examine the USAS’s claims against Adidas.

Just as Bachmeier had said following the meeting, a task force was developed to discuss GVSU’s options moving forward. While Bachmeier was unavailable to comment, an email from him to Disler confirmed the committee’s formation.

Its members include Paul Leidig, director and professor of the School of Computing and Information Systems; John Uglietta, associate professor and chair of the philosophy department; Jerrod Nichols, university bookstore manager; Doug Lipinski, associate athletic director; Pat Smith of the University Counsel Office; Doug Wentworth, director of Auxiliary Services; Dan Glowinski, ticket manager and director of Louie’s Locker Room; and Diana Pace, associate dean of students.

A first meeting date had not yet been set as of Friday.

Disler said the process is not going quite as quickly or smoothly as anticipated, as she suspects the administrators are hoping the movement will “die out” with enough time.

“We wish they would be a little more reactive in planning a date to actually meet and they haven’t really been so far, so we just wish it was kind of being moved on,” she said.

Although Bachmeier was, again, unavailable to contest these claims, he stated in a previous interview that he would not be “guilty of stonewalling.”

Meanwhile, Viviano said neither she nor her fellow senate members have formulated opinions on the matter yet, but will await more information.

In the end, many at the university are simply pleased to see the students taking a stand, regardless of the cause.

“Everyone was happy they came today,” Viviano said. “We always want outside groups to come. (We’re just) excited that they’re excited.”

Disler said the USAS has grown in membership in the past few weeks, with a total of 15 to 25 people participating in protests.

“Student support is growing and more people are getting interested in this,” she said.

The USAS is planning future protests against sweatshop labor, with one scheduled for April 8 in front of the Cook Carillon Tower.
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