University officials announced last week that a licensing contract between the University and Russell Corporation, an athletic apparel manufacturer that has recently come under fire for allegedly infringing on its workers’ rights, will not be renewed.

Russell Corp. has been accused of firing employees from two of the company’s manufacturing plants in Honduras because the workers attempted to unionize.

The University’s Advisory Committee on Labor Standards and Human Rights sent a letter to University officials last month asking them not to renew the contract with Russell Corp. when it expires at the end of March.

“Because of the company’s previous failure to adhere to its own standards of conduct, we do not feel that continuing the license, even under strict monitoring of any new code of conduct, is appropriate,” the letter said.

University spokeswoman Kelly Cunningham said the committee’s recommendation was the main reason the University chose not to renew the contract.

“The committee found that the company had not respected the employees’ right to association and had not adhered to the company’s own standards of conduct,” she wrote in an e-mail. “The University decided not to renew the Russell license based on the advisory committee’s recommendation.”

At the time, Russell Corp. denied allegations that it closed its Honduras plants because workers tried to unionize. The company said it was forced to close the facilities because of economic considerations, not because of employee’s efforts to unionize.

The New York Times reported on Feb. 24 that officials from Russell Corp. issued a report addressing the workers’ rights concerns in which they wrote: “We acknowledge that management mistakes were made that led to a failure to adhere” to “standards on freedom of association.”

The Associated Press reported that, among others, Columbia, Cornell, Georgetown, Purdue, Rutgers and Wisconsin have all announced they will also cut ties with Russell Corp.

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