The Michigan Daily - New Student Edition - Fall 2004 - 3C
April 8, 2004
By Mkhael Kan
PDaily Staff Writer
committee will recommend wage disclosure policy
A cool sigh of relief lingered through the final
seconds of yesterday morning's meeting of the
University's Labor Standards and Human Rights
Committee, as members agreed on a proposal to
recommend that the University make the wages
of factory workers producing school apparel pub-
Prompted by pressure from Students Organiz-
ing for Labor and Economic Equality for the
University to implement a wage-disclosure poli-
cy, members of the committee have debated the
issue since March 13.
The seven-member committee voted unani-
mously to recommend to University President
Mary Sue Coleman a proposal to implement a
Coleman is expected to respond to the com-
mittee's recommendation today.
Saying she was pleased with the proposal,
Kristin McRay, a SOLE representative and com-
mittee member said, "Now that we can recom-
mend a proposal, we can move forward."
The first clause of the proposal recommends
to Coleman that the University should "obtain
accurate, verifiable and transparent wage data"
from all companies with licenses to produce
products with the University name.
While the specific process of obtaining the
wage data has yet to be formed, the proposal also
recommends the University engage in further
talks with noncompliant companies on a case-by-
case basis. Moreover, the document urges the
University to work with groups such as the
Worker Rights Consortium and the Fair Labor
Association, which verify license compliance, to
develop a method to obtain accurate wage data.
Other recommendations include discussing the
issue with the University of Wisconsin - anoth-
er college with a wage disclosure policy in the
works - and with apparel companies to open up
future dialogue on carrying out the policy.
McRay said she is hopeful Coleman will agree
with the committee's advice. "She's put a lot of
emphasis on it, so hopefully she'll take this rec-
ommendation seriously," McRay added.
Despite the achievement of an agreement, the
committee potentially faces other problems in
attempting to formulate a wage disclosure policy.
"The closer you get to disclosing information,
the closer you get to an anti-trust issue," said Stan
Bies, University assistant general counsel. Bies
highlighted that a key problem with large apparel
companies, such as Nike, is the fear that other
companies could calculate the production costs
of their products if wages are disclosed publicly.
Hence, the wage data could give their competi-
tors an edge, he added.
Obtaining accurate data will also be tricky,
since smaller businesses have no direct manage-
ment over factories, said Rut Tufts, FLA execu-
tive director. Factories often fabricate data, and it
is costly and time-consuming for companies to
conduct thorough inspections, he added. "The
problem is in trying to find companies who are
willing to crack down on these factories."
Regardless of the difficulties, Scott Nova,
WRC executive director, said this policy could
still have widespread ramifications, as it may
raise conversations among companies and spur
awareness on unjust wage practices.
By obtaining wage disclosures, it will compel
companies to have conversations with their facto-
ries over wages and lead to active compliance
rather than companies making assumptions that
their factories are compliant, said Nova.
"If you want compliance across the board, you
need a culture of compliancy" he said. Commit-
tee members agreed with Nova's assertions, but
they also said the potential obstacles faced
should be undemanding to companies.
They explained that because every company
that has a license with the University agrees in
the contract that all its workers are paid the
minimum wage, all companies should have
data on their workers, which they are permit-
ted to disclose.
Secret society bashed for use
of Native American traditions
December 3, 2003
By Karen Schwartz
Daily Staff Writer
Students were locked in debate last
night long after University alumna
Melissa Lopez Pope finished relating
her story about the history of the Native
American campus community.
Pope spoke about her experiences on
campus and interactions between the
Native American community and the
secret society Michigamua, whose use
of Native American symbols in its initia-
tion ceremonies and activities outraged
members of the campus community.
Pope said she and others have protest-
ed over the years the group's stereotypi-
cal use of drums, loincloths, headdresses
and the taking on of "Indian names."
Native American students and
Michigamua members have gone to the
negotiating table multiple times to dis-
cuss these improprieties, Pope said, but
Michigamua violated agreements.
While she said they no longer hold
offensive rituals on the Diag, issues such
as the name of the group still remain.
"It got to a point where it was made
very clear that what they would never
give up was their name," she said, refer-
ring to past conversations with members
of Michigamua. Many Native Ameri-
cans see the group's name as disrespect-
ful and as just another "pseudo-relation"
to the culture, Pope said.
She said she was committed to
changing the environment for Native
American students and to increasing the
Native American presence on campus.
Discussion between audience mem-
bers arose after her speech - passionate
words from students opposed to the
society as well as from three Michiga-
mua members, who said they attended
the event out of curiosity and interest.
Confronted with accusations about
his group, LSA senior and Michigamua
member Sean Carmody stood up in the
back of the Angell Hall auditorium to
voice his opinion.
"We're here for one thing, to fight like
hell for Michigan through Michigamua.
It's about us working together through
our organizations to improve this Uni-
versity to the best of our ability," he said.
While Carmody recognized that there
are some who are still upset with past
events, he said the organization looks to
the future while remembering its history.
"I just want it to come across, the
truth, that we're not a racist organiza-
tion," he said. "We don't want this stig-
ma to be a part of our organization 20
years from now."
Another Michigamua member, who
would not give his name, told the crowd
of more than 50 people that Michiga-
mua practices have changed. While he
doesn't feel the group's name should
change, he said Michigamua is involved
in a different kind of pursuit.
"I don't dismiss what happened, but I
am taking the stance that this happened
and that things have changed," he said.
"We're moving in a different direction. I
want to be part of that movement."
Engineering sophomore Josh Traylor
said attending the event made him want
to learn more about the issues facing the
Native American community on cam-
pus. He was intrigued by conversation
Native American activist Melissa Lopez
Pope speaks on Dec. 2, 2003.
about whether the name of the organiza,
tion should be changed, and what the
lack of recognition "that the name could
ever be offensive" means about the way
Native Americans are viewed.
Traylor said there would be little
debate if a group or sports team took on
a name related to another ethnic identity:
"(The members of Michigamua) basi-
cally seem to deny anything about the
name being an imitation of Native
American culture, but when I was bring.
ing up sports teams, the Braves, the
Redskins - when I brought in other
races to it, it's very clear cut, 'no that's
wrong,' " he said. "But when it comes to
Native Americans, basically it seems
like they're a group that has yet to wim
respect from all parts of society."
over a toilet in a glittery tube dress and heels, saying, "The "I think guys, in a general sense, get more drunk
woman appeared to be posing for Maxim." than girls," he added. "They often feel pressured into
"(Throwing up) is not that pretty!" she added. drinking, too."
State rep. accuses 'How to be gay'
class of promoting homosexuality
September 8, 2003
By Abike Martins
For the Daily
The University course titled
"How to be Gay: Male Homosexu-
ality and Initia-
to receive scruti-
ny in its third
year at the Uni-
versity. Since the
tion, it has ,
r e..ei d ri
lifestyle choice such as homosexu-
ality. "There is a difference between
studying a culture or lifestyle, but it
is not the same as an indoctrination
The class instructor, English
Prof. David Halperin, said the Eng-
lish Department has been very sup-
portive of the course and class
enrollment has increased every year
He added that the criticism has
not influenced the manner in which
the course is taught.
"None of these politicians have
cal and popular music, as well as
camp, diva-worship, drag, muscle
culture, taste, style and political
"The complaint is that taxpayer
money should not go toward a
course which is deemed by most to
be morally objectionable or to pro-
mote a lifestyle that significantly
raises one's chances of a shorter
lifespan or mental illness," said
AFA's Glenn. He said men who are
gay could die up to 20 years earlier
than the average population.
Noting that the University has one