To mix slogans and politics: Coke, possibly not the choice of the Leg generation.
Associated Students Legislative Council talked up the possibility of banning Coca-Cola products from being sold on campus at last night’s Leg meeting. Lance Tackett, an off-campus representative, said the Coca-Cola company has been participating in “shady” activities in Latin American countries. He said A.S. Student Lobby might start a campaign to either limit or eliminate Coke products from the university or work on giving students “more choices” in their on-campus beverage selection.
“The Coca-Cola Company holds water rights over certain villages in Latin America, and [they] are not sharing them,” Tackett said. “Because of this, people are dying of starvation and malnutrition.”
Student Lobby’s accusations of immoral behavior on Coca-Cola’s part in Latin America are paralleled by a $500 million civil case against the company filed in July 2001 by the International Labor Rights Fund and the United Steelworkers of America at a U.S. District Court in Miami, Fla. The suit alleges that trade union leaders and workers in several Colombian Coca-Cola bottling factories have been treated unfairly and that a former union leader at the Bebidas y Alimentos plant in Carepa, Colombia, was assassinated by Colombian paramilitaries the lawsuit accuses of being contracted by the bottling plant’s management. Coca-Cola counters that it has no connection with the killing and that it cannot be sued in U.S. courts for the actions of its contractors in foreign countries. The lawsuit has not yet been resolved.
Student Lobby Chair Fernando Ramirez also spoke about limiting sales of Coca-Cola’s products.
“Coke has a bad reputation for things like this,” he said. “While we haven’t officially started this campaign or began lobbying, we have taken a stance. But we are still in the research process.”
Ramirez also said he was frustrated that the UCen is limiting students’ beverage choices.
“Students used to have more variety available and choice on products. We suspect that the UCen is only selling [Coke] products,” Ramirez said. “If the UCen is supporting the Coca-Cola monopoly, we would like students to have a say in it.”
Tackett and Ramirez said they hope to see action regarding the sale of Coke in the UCen during this school year.
The remainder of the A.S. legislative meeting was spent discussing whether or not polo shirts would be better than “regular ones” for A.S. members.
The legislative council opted for both polo shirts and regular T-shirts.