Update: WRC Board Elections


June 20, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

We have an update on the ongoing WRC Board elections for the A Category Board seat: Kathy Hoggan of the University of Washington has decided to withdraw her candidacy.

The remaining two candidates are, in alphabetical order:

Marc Donabella of Syracuse University
Craig Westemeier of The University of Texas

Please note that, in addition to the candidates’ statements copied below, you can read biographies for Marcand Craig.

As a reminder, each university and college is eligible to cast one vote. Please do so by replying to this email, indicating the name of the person for whom you are voting, as well as your name and the name of your institution.

It is important to note that all WRC affiliates are eligible to vote, regardless of category. Voting will be open through the close of business on June 30 and then results will be tallied and the winner will be announced.

We will contact universities and colleges that have already voted for Kathy to offer them the opportunity to vote instead for either Marc or Craig.

Thank you!

Lynnette Dunston

Lynnette Dunston  
Worker Rights Consortium  
5 Thomas Circle NW, 5th Floor  
Washington, DC 20005  
p (202)387-4884|f (202)387-3292 

Marc Donabella, Director of Trademark Licensing, Syracuse University

When I first was introduced to collegiate licensing in 2000, there were some basic concepts. One was that there were the three P’s of trademark licensing: Promote, Profit and Protect. The third P, the notion of protection, was first interpreted by me as watching for infringers and protecting the brand from pirating. It was soon after that, I learned that it also meant protecting the integrity of the brand and upholding moral and ethical values that are in harmony with my institution. While we tend to get busy promoting and profiting, we eventually realize the extent of protecting our brand through corporate responsibility. And, soon after that realize that we have the ability to protect others that sometimes are not able to protect themselves. I learned this through several instances early in my career, first through Nike, then New Era, which had workers’ rights issues in a factory not even three hours from my city.

Other issues arose with Russell in Honduras, and many others over the years. We first supported the DSP and then the Bangladesh Accord and met with our student leaders of USAS and SCOOL on many occasions and eventually asked them to sit on our Trademark Licensing Advisory Board. We participated with Knights’ implementation of Alta Gracia, and still carry it in the Bookstore to this day.

Workers’ rights issues and corporate responsibility including living wage become real to you as time passes. You realize that it is an opportunity to impact and change someone’s life for the better. I feel the same way about initiatives like Wounded Warrior Project or Operation Hat Trick. These are ways to use our brands and positions on campus to right injustices. It is ironic that we are back to square one with Nike after seeing how much that they have progressed. I am sure that with the WRC and the assistance of the member intuitions, we can right the ship again.

I am hoping that my experience and philosophy would be valuable to the Worker Rights Consortium’s Governing Board.

Thank you for your time.

Craig Westemeier, Senior Associate Athletic Director, The University of Texas

I have been working in Trademark Licensing for The University of Texas System since 1998. My initial role within the office was as the assistant to the Director, with responsibilities over the day-to-day administration and acting as a resource person for trademark licensing, merchandising, and marketing topics. Other job duties included assisting with the transfer of the program from an independent to one that involved the use of a licensing agency as well as providing information and knowledge to the Director on a variety of issues involving licensing.  

In April of 2000, I became the Director of Trademark Licensing. My duties as Director include managing trademark properties, processing trademark registrations, and approving licensees, products, and advertisements incorporating trademarks of 13 component institutions in the UT System. Additional responsibilities include managing the athletics department retail and on-line stores, establishing and maintaining working relationship with outside entities such as licensees, alumni, student groups, retailers, etc. and assisting with the review and creation of agreements pertaining to use of trademarks.

It was during my transition to becoming the Director that the subject of how and under what conditions workers were producing collegiate licensed apparel arose. I have remained involved on this subject since that time while serving on the ICLA Board of Directors as many collegiate institutions had questions and concerns as well as the need for considerable education in regard to how the supply chain production of products operated. As a member of the FLA Board of Directors, I traveled to several countries and visited factories in China, Dominican Republic, and Turkey. Through these visit I have learned a great deal about the challenges we face in working toward fair treatment of these workers. 

While our university has not been a member of the WRC as long as some of the other members, I do believe that my experience in the past 16 years makes me a good candidate to serve on the Board and further my knowledge to assist the WRC.