Code of Conduct leaves Goldie Gopher unwed

Dan Haugen

Students from the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group turned the University’s West Bank plaza into a stage for sidewalk theatrics Wednesday.

In front of approximately 100 spectators, the group acted out a mock wedding between Goldie Gopher and “Corporate Greed” – a top-hat-wearing, moneybag-carrying character, one student described as looking “like a cross between Mark Yudof and the Monopoly guy.”

Complete with invitations, wedding cake and fake champagne, the event was originally planned to pressure University President Mark Yudof to sign a code of conduct for University apparel manufacturers. The script changed, however, after Yudof signed such a policy Tuesday.

Before getting to lift Goldie’s wedding veil, Corporate Greed threw down his cane and stormed away when MPIRG’s Kate Suchomel interrupted the ceremony with news of the new code of conduct for University apparel makers.

“I’m ecstatic,” Suchomel said. “It’s a good, strong code.”

The code outlines a set of employment and workplace standards for companies licensed to manufacture University apparel.

“We’re not done, but we’re more happy,” said Joe Larsen, an MPIRG’s corporate accountability task force member. He said his group will now focus on working with the administration to ensure the code is enforced.

Approximately a dozen students watching Wednesday’s event argued with five protesters from Young Americans for Freedom and the Campus Republicans.

As the wedding ceremony began, one of the protesters shouted, “You’re hypocrites!”

Campus Republicans member Josh Reuss said those accusing the University of using sweatshop labor are unaware of the reality of working conditions in poorer countries.

“While we have a plethora of jobs in the United States,” Reuss said, “in developing countries these jobs are the only jobs available, and people are grateful for them.”

“I think Yudof is pretty spineless,” said Young Americans for Freedom member Dan Nelson. “He’s caved under pressure. He’s not doing the right thing for the University. He’s just trying to quell the vocal minority.”

Nelson said he’s concerned the University might lose apparel contracts over the code, and the cost of products bearing University logos might rise.

La Raza, Queer Student Cultural Center, University YW and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3800 also supported the mock wedding.

Dan Haugen welcomes comments at
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