[Wildcat Online: News] [ad info]





More than 250 participate in Women's Safe Night Run


Joshua D. Trujillo
Arizona Daily Wildcat

Lane Van Ham, a comparative cultural and literary studies graduate student, carries a banner with (from left) Shamini Jain, a UA staff member, and psychology graduate student Rachel Wilson. The students, members of Students Against Sweatshops, were protesting Nike's sponsorship of the Women's Safe Night Run.

By Eric Swedlund
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
October 27, 1999
Talk about this story

About 250 UA women gathered on the Mall last night for the Women's Safe Night Run, a Nike-sponsored event designed to promote awareness about safety issues on campus.

About 15 members of Students Against Sweatshops, also showed up to protest Nike's involvement in the event.

"This is an informal walk/run to promote women's safety awareness," said Leigh-Anne Brown, University of Arizona Nike student representative and a communication junior. "It's so important for university organizations to support events as crucial as women's safety on campus."

Brown said the gathering provided great safety tips and that she "couldn't be happier with the event."

She added that the protesters did not take away from the event.

"It's their right to protest," Brown said.

The SAS members protested the event because it was sponsored by Nike.

"We see there's a big conflict with Nike sponsoring a run about women's safety when women working in factories are suffering daily," said SAS member Rachel Wilson, a psychology graduate student.

"It's a new take on the 'Take Back the Night' movement, but Nike is not dealing with women's empowerment," she said. "It's a public relations move by Nike to refinish its tarnished image."

SAS member Lane Van Ham said it is a great ideal to support women's safety, but Nike violates that concept in its factories.

"The one thing that occurred to me is that Nike seemed to be saying, 'women's safety, but only for white women,'" said Van Ham, a comparative cultural and literary studies graduate student. "Nike is unwilling to apply that idea of women's safety to its workers."

He added that most of Nike's factories are in Asia and Central America, while the event was in support of American college women.

Speaking in support of the event was the UA OASIS Center for Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence and the University of Arizona Police Department.

"I'm out here to let people know how to be safe," said Roberta Moore, OASIS coordinator.

UAPD Officer Paul Reinhardt said the department has always encouraged women to be safe on campus.

"UAPD has always had a strong commitment to women's safety issues," he said.

Reinhardt added that there are several ways to be safe on campus, including utilizing the ASUA Escort Service, not walking alone at night, staying in lighted areas and taking self-defense classes through the UAPD.

Communication freshman Jenna Beuell said she participated in the event because she runs at night and because it was a good way to promote safety.

"They're trying to do a positive event," she said. "It thought it was really good."

[end content]
[ad info]