ISS votes to allow Coca-Cola to re-bid

By Madeline Keleher

The Illinois Student Senate passed a resolution Wednesday in favor of allowing Coca-Cola to bid for a new contract with the University.

The University has been in a 10-year, 10 million dollar contract with the Coca-Cola company since 1997. The contract specifies that only Coca-Cola products can be sold in campus vending machines and residence hall dining rooms.

The murders of nine people in and around Coca-Cola bottling plants in Colombia in the recent years has sparked international debate. Many student groups on campus believe that the murders were an attempt by Coca-Cola to scare workers from unionizing.

Cody Skees, junior in ACES and senator from the college, presented the resolution in favor of allowing Coca-Cola to bid.

“It’s what’s best economically for the University,” Skees said.

Skees said the competition between Pepsi and Coca-Cola for the 2007 contract is necessary to increase the value of the contract. Without it, he said, any contract is estimated to be less than half the value of the current one.

Skees is not concerned with the allegations of human rights abuses in Colombia and India that were brought up at the meeting.

“The U.N. investigation showed that the allegations are 100 percent false,” he said. “Coca-Cola has been cleared by two Colombian courts and a U.S. federal court in Miami.”

Joseph Glenn, freshman in LAS and LAS senator, presented a second resolution stating that future Coca-Cola contracts must contain a clause allowing for the termination of the contract if humanitarian and environmental rights are violated.

The resolution passed with an amendment broadening its applications to any companies that engage in business with the University.

“It’s not like what we say here will cause something to happen with the snap of the finger,” said Katie Hamilton, sophomore in Communications and Communications senator. “But the resolutions carry the voice of the student body, and will be brought to the UC Senate meeting.”