Nike sinks schools – Millions of charitable dollars lost

Nike has withdrawn millions of dollars of financial support from three universities that recently joined a student-led group that advocates for better working condition in factories abroad, the Washington Post reports.

College officials from the University of Michigan, Brown University and the University of Oregon say Nike Chairman Phil Knight’s actions are a retaliation against the schools’ positions on the labor issue, the Post says.

Last week, Nike broke off negotiations with the University of Michigan that would have been worth $22 and $26 million over six years, the Post reports.

Knight also notified officials at the University of Oregon that he would no longer give personally to his alma mater. Knight had given the school $50 million for academics and athletics, and he planned to donate $30 million more towards a stadium renovation.

Nike also canceled the final year of Brown University’s three-year contract with the men’s and women’s hockey teams, blaming Brown’s position on the labor issue for the split.

Nike officials say the situations are not related and the timing is coincidental, the Post reports.

Each school has joined the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC), a labor rights organization that demands surprise inspections of factory working conditions and does not include industry in its planning process, the Post said.

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