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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    New Tactics by The Coke Campaign

    The campus campaign against Coca Cola has begun a new tactic that has proven to be successful on other college campuses. On Wednesday Oct. 3, the Social Justice Alliance lined the walkway between the Student Activities Center and the zebra path and encouraged students to call the office of the president directly and demand that Coca Cola be kicked off campus. Campaign leader Anita Halasz estimated that roughly 20 students called on the spot and several more people to call after the event took place.

    The national group United Students Against Sweatshops has been one of the biggest and loudest supporters of the Kick Coke campaign, and for the past several months has alerted allies across the country about call-ins and other drastic measures. In the past, USAS has even gone so far as to ask its ListServ members to call in to other campuses to show support and solidarity. USAS has yet to issue such a request for Stony Brook University.

    The campaign is now entering its fourth semester on campus, and the 10-year exclusive contract between the administration and Coca Cola that is under question is coming to a close later this academic year.

    According to officials in the administration and the Faculty Student Association, a new committee will be established whose sole purpose is to evaluate the bids that Stony Brook receives and judge each contract based on both the economic and social impact of signing a new contract. Coca Cola currently gives millions of dollars to the university in scholarships and grants.

    Members of the campaign want to hear a promise from the administration that Coca Cola will not be considered at all in the new bidding wars set to open in a few months’ time. Administrators have been unwilling to comply thus far, noting that if Coca Cola’s name was removed from the bidding, it could lessen the amount offered by other companies, like Pepsi Co.

    Also, there has been much fuss over what is known as a ‘pouring rights’ contract. Such contracts ensure that the beverage providers operate as the exclusive vendor for the campus in question. Coca Cola’s pouring rights contract allows for 10% shelf space for non-Coca Cola products, so long as those products do not compete with products that Coca Cola produces.

    Opponents of pouring rights contracts contend that this inhibits healthy competition and limits choice. Supporters feel that the economic impact of a pouring rights contract is too big to pass up.

    Next for the campaign are more visual, participatory actions. And should things fail to move forward, the campaign has pledged their support for a hunger strike at the foot of the administration building. But all agree that the administration is unlikely to be so unresponsive as to warrant a hunger strike that would bring bad press to Stony Brook.

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