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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

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    Coca Cola Contract Likely to be Renewed at SBU

    The Social Justice Alliance is gaining momentum again as the semester winds down with their campaign to prevent The Coca Cola Corporation from acquiring another large contract with Stony Brook University.

    A resolution created by the Social Justice Alliance calling on the formation of an ‘Ethical Contracting Committee’ has been passed by the Graduate Students Organization, and is now waiting to be reviewed by the University Senate. SJA is looking to create a sub-committee of the Student Life Committee or the University Senate, one that will be responsible for reviewing Stony Brook’s large, long-term contracts and ensure that the companies involved obey a corporation code of conduct.

    Coca Cola would be the first company on the agenda. When Stony Brook University’s 10-year contract expires in 2008, SJA wants to see alternatives available to students.

    According to the campaign leader, senior Anita Halasz, the University Senate has yet to respond to the resolution.

    At the same time, contact with the administration seemed to have paid off for the campaign. The administration announced that they had invited representatives from Coca Cola to come to campus to answer questions any students may have. But this invitation is insincere, says Halasz.

    ‘The SJA has been requesting a meeting with Coca Cola representatives since last semester,’ according to Halasz. And the meeting that had been scheduled was done so on short notice, not giving the Coke campaign enough time to invite a representative of their own to debate the Coca Cola representatives.

    ‘ ‘They are not listening to their students,’ said Halasz, talking about the administrators.’ ‘By maintaining this contract, they are complicit in these crimes.

    The Coca Cola Corporation has been charged with human rights abuses in their bottling plants in Colombia, including the murder of nine union workers. Over 30 college campuses across the country, including NYU and Hofstra, have ended contracts with Coca Cola based on these charges and the failure by Coke to allow an independent investigation in Colombia.

    The administration has been adamant about including students from the SJA in the process of writing a new contract and assessing the current one, but Halasz and other SJA members disagree. ‘They asked us to be involved in the process, but this is not involving us,’ Halasz said.

    An email sent from the office of Karol Gray, Vice President of Finance and Administration, explained that ‘Coca Cola will be on campus to…answer any student concerns.’ The meeting was to be held on April 17th, but after Halasz and fellow campaign member Dan Woulfin sent an email criticizing the administration for not listening to the requests of the SJA, the representatives from Coca Cola were asked to reschedule. The meeting took place with only administrators, allowing Halasz and other SJA members to address their concerns. A meeting with Coca Cola representatives will be rescheduled for a later date.

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