Saturday, June 30, 2007

UIUC Coke Contract Expires, University Yet To Release Plan

Even as the current contract expires, University of Illinois continues to evade real questions.

The 10-year-long exclusive contract between University of Illinois and Coca-Cola formally ended on June 30, 2007. Despite a strong opposition to the contract from students, faculty, staff and the community, and Coca-Cola's refusal to take responsibility for violating human, labor and environmental rights, the U. of I administration chooses to remain silent.

For the past 2 years the Coalition Against Coke Contracts (CACC) has organized a campaign against the exclusive contract with Coca-Cola. More than 25 groups in Urbana Champaign including academic departments, student and community organizations have endorsed the campaign.

CACC organized 'the last day of contract' action on June 29, 2007 that was well attended. The attendees sampled locally produced beverages and rated those as they enjoyed Paul Kotheimer's innovative performance on various ways to remove Coke machines. The coalition delivered a collective letter to the Chancellor. Urging the university to break its silence, the letter says, "Until we can successfully rid Coca-Cola and its subsidiary products from this campus, the atmosphere which condones the abuses of multinational corporations will fester."

In his response to the action, the chair of Licensing Advisory committee Bill Adams said that the administration has no clear information on what kinds of beverages will be available on the campus from July 1st.

Finally, the following are CACC demands:

1. Do not get into a contract with Coca-Cola, whether exclusive or otherwise.

2. Issue a public statement on the beverage contract for next year.

3. Issue a public statement highlighting Coca Cola's reticence to address serious concerns regarding its business practices.

4. Issue a public statement on the University's commitment to ethics in the business dealings.And here is the rest of it.