Columbia University has terminated a licensing agreement with clothing company Land's End following student pressure to respond to allegations of sweatshop labour.

Land's End, a subsidiary of Sears, Roebuck and Co, has been accused by watchdog group Worker's Rights Consortium (WRC) of violating international labour standards, corporate cover-ups and producing unauthorised merchandise.

Controversy over its relationship with Columbia University began when undergraduate group Columbia Students for Environmental and Economic Justice (CSEEJ) raised concerns about the company's labour practices.

The alleged labour violations, arising from a Land's End-affiliated factory in El Salvador, included "blacklisting" of union-affiliated workers.

This and other allegations were published in a report released in March by WRC, a group with ties to the university.

Columbia maintains that it has "never done any business with Land's End," in the words of business services director Honey Fishman.

The two organisations did, however, hold some form of licensing agreement, and Land's End was selling T-shirts bearing Columbia's lion logo on its website as late as three weeks ago.

As such, the CSEEJ claimed Columbia, as a Fair Labour Association (FLA) member, was in violation of FLA guidelines for its association with a company that participated in union blacklisting.

Columbia University, in official correspondence, cited "code of conduct and failure to submit artwork reasons" for severing ties with Land's End.