March 14, 2023
By Alex Guberman
Welcome to this week’s edition of University Insider.
This week, University President Santa Ono sat down with The Michigan Daily for the first time since his inauguration, United Students Against Sweatshops called on the University to condemn Nike for wage theft and campus community members responded to the expansion of Winter Break.
The Michigan Daily sat down with University President Santa Ono on Monday to talk about his inauguration, new residence halls, athletic changes and more.
Ono discussed his perspective on the inauguration, detailing his passion for the two symposia on sustainability and the Inclusive History Project that opened the day.
“The inauguration isn’t about me. It’s about a chapter in the life of the University,” Ono said. “I happen to be the person who is in that seat during this period of time. It’s a celebration of what we have been, but more of a conversation about where we want to go moving forward — who we want to be.”
The topic then turned to housing for undergraduate students. He touched on the large-scale sustainability implementation for the newest undergraduate residence hall and provided more information on phase two of the housing project.
“If you look at residence halls that were built to accommodate first-year students, there hasn’t been a first-year student-only residence hall built for quite some time.” Ono said. “The number of first-year students and second-year students at University has grown significantly since the last first-year residence was built so the aim of the residence halls is to make it possible for all first-year students who want to live on Central Campus to do so.”
United Students Against Sweatshops delivered a letter to University President Santa Ono calling on the University to acknowledge and condemn alleged wage theft by Nike.
The letter demands a meeting with Ono by March 16 to ensure the University is compliant with the President’s Advisory Committee on labor standards, which states that any company that holds the university label and partnership must be “produced in accordance with our Code of Conduct, international labor standards and respect for human rights and dignity.”
Students hope that Nike’s large partnership with the University will enable the administration to encourage Nike to treat workers more fairly.
USAS has previously fought for repayment of severance for Adidas workers, who eventually paid their workers following former University President Mary Sue Coleman’s letter to Adidas. As of now, the University has not publicly commented but stated that Ono will deliver his response directly.
After the official extension of the 2024 Winter Break from January 3 to January 10, The Michigan Daily spoke to students and faculty to hear their opinions on the change.
Alongside administrative support, Central Student Government president Noah Zimmerman told The Daily that he and Jackie Hillman, CSG Vice President, advocated for a longer break to support students’ mental health — stemming from what he had heard from mental health focused student organizations such as Wolverine Support Network.
LSA Senior Izzy Steinberg, WSN’s executive director, highlighted how beneficial the change will be for returning students, even though the change goes into effect after she graduates.
“(Extending Winter Break is) something that felt like it didn’t even need to be said,” Steinberg said. “It was just a change that I think lots of students on campus want.”
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