The University Apparel Manufacturing Committee once again took no action on the issue of public disclosure of UR?s manufacturing sites at a meeting Wednesday.

The committee had invited Barnes and Noble representative Joel Friedman to talk about the technicalities and practicality of releasing the information.

Friedman can disclose site locations if the university so chooses.

However, he said trust between buyers and sellers is more important than disclosure.

?Full public disclosure is not going to solve [the problem]. The fundamental issue is of trust,? he said.

In the two-hour question-and-answer session, committee members asked Friedman about the disclosure policies of manufacturers, the locations of factories with which Barnes and Noble suppliers work and the process of getting information about these factories.

Friedman said information about factories is already available on company Web sites. It would be hard to gather more details because company-factory contracts are always changing.

Friedman said that disclosure is a more complicated issue than it seems.

?I found the two hours with Joel Friedman very beneficial. His perspective was helpful in understanding issues of leverage, licensing and sourcing,? said Mary-Beth Cooper, committee co-chair and Dean of River Campus Students. ?Full public disclosure seems like a straightforward task to accomplish, and quite frankly, it didn?t appear that way when I heard Mr. Friedman discuss it today.?

Members of the No-Sweat Coalition disagreed.

?Dean Cooper made the absurd comment that requesting full public disclosure would be an ?impossible task.? However, it would be nothing more or less than a simple request,? junior and co-president of No-Sweat Kirk Scirto said. ?Due to the administrators? reluctance to vote, nothing constructive occurred at the meeting although students and professors pushed for action on the disclosure issue.?

?It?s not a very complicated issue,? said junior Sarah Clock, non-voting committee member and co-president of No-Sweat. ?I was disappointed that committee members feel that we need to move to other issues and not forward this one.?

The last three committee meetings have yielded no decision.

Cooper said that the issue is a complex one and it had been paid due diligence by the committee. ?Bringing [Friedman] to talk was a positive step in that direction.? she said.

Friedman asked what purpose a list of factories would provide and what the advantage of disclosing this information would be.

When asked what, instead, would be the reason for concealing this information, Friedman said, ?If there was a desire to hide information, manufacturers wouldn?t put it on a Web site.?

However, Scirto said the information on the Web is inadequate.

?The Web site lists that Friedman referred to are extremely limited, not only because they are constantly changing and not updated often enough, but mostly because they only contain a small list of factories out of the list of say, all UR factories,? Scirto said.

Committee member and Director of Purchasing Quentin Roach pointed out the problem of who would bear the cost of obtaining the information ? the company or the university.

He agreed with Friedman that the fundamental issue is trust.

?[Barnes and Noble] already has disclosure … There?s a level of trust with Barnes and Nobles. They?re doing their job,? Roach said at the meeting.

Clock said that the main issue wasn?t the exact proposal but the idea behind it. She stressed the need for transparency and for consumers to be informed.

One more committee meeting remains this semester, next Wednesday from 3 to 4 p.m. The location has not yet been decided. There is a possibility that the committee may vote on disclosure. Meetings are open to the public.



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