National AAUP Joins Criticism of Provost on Nike Board

January 11, 2010

The national American Association of University Professors is today joining criticism by its University of Washington branch of the decision of Provost Phyllis Wise to join the board of Nike -- a decision that has become increasingly controversial. Wise has said that she will help encourage responsible corporate governance, but faculty critics have said that her role is problematic, given that the university has contracts with the company and many on the campus want more scrutiny of Nike's labor practice. The national AAUP statement says: "We agree that recusing herself from board discussion of Nike’s contractual relations with the university does not provide a sufficient firewall between the provost and the ethical and political implications of Nike’s international financial and labor practices. And we agree that a chilling effect on faculty research into Nike’s practices is entirely possible if the university’s chief academic officer is identified with Nike’s board."

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