First Students, Now Faculty at Hofstra Vote to Throw Coke Out

For Immediate Release
May 3, 2005

Vanessa Cudabac, Hofstra University E: Vcudab1(AT)pride.hofstra.edu T: +1 516 463 4095
Amit Srivastava, India Resource Center E: amit(AT)IndiaResource.org T: +1 415 336 7584

New York, US: In a significant victory for the International Campaign to Hold Coca-Cola Accountable, the faculty at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York have voted overwhelmingly in favor of ending Coca-Cola's exclusive beverage contract with the university because of the company's human rights and environmental crimes in India and Colombia.

The resolution, passed by the Full Faculty of Hofstra University, calls upon the Hofstra administration to not renew the exclusive vending contract with the Coca-Cola company.

The vote comes less than two weeks after students at Hofstra University passed a referendum calling on the administration to discontinue the exclusive contract with Coca-Cola. The referendum received more votes than any candidate on the ballot.

In India, Coca-Cola is guilty of creating severe water shortages and polluting the groundwater and soil, affecting tens of thousands of farmers. Coca-Cola was also distributing toxic waste to farmers as fertilizer and selling drinks in the Indian market with extremely high levels of pesticides. In Colombia, Coca-Cola is charged with complicity in the murder, torture and intimidation of trade union organizers in Coca-Cola bottling plants.

"The students and faculty have spoken, and our voices will not go unheard. We will continue to pressure the administration and we will continue our fight against the Coca-Cola company which has caused environmental devastation in India and is complicit in the murder and torture of trade union organizers in Colombia," said Vanessa Cudabac, one of the lead organizers of the campaign at Hofstra University and nationally.

Students from Hofstra University also attended Coca-Cola's shareholder meeting on April 19 and spoke against Coca-Cola's crimes in India and Colombia.

The student-led campaign at Hofstra University is part of a large and growing movement among colleges and universities in the US and UK to hold Coca-cola accountable for its crimes in India and Colombia. The most recent campus to ban the sale of Coca-Cola products is the Union Theological Seminary in Manhattan, New York, a graduate school of theology which trains students to be ministers in the Christian faith.

At the University of Michigan, a student coalition representing over 5,000 students has challenged Coca-Cola's contract with the university, claiming it violates the vendor code of conduct. On April 25, the Coca-Cola company sent 9 representatives to campus to publicly debate representatives of the student Coke coalition, who were joined by the United Steel Workers of America and the India Resource Center.

"College and university campuses have always served as key battlegrounds for the struggle for justice, including the campaign to end apartheid South Africa. We are encouraged by the commitment and hard work of the young people at Hofstra and other campuses, and we have no doubt that the current and future victories led by students will ensure justice for communities in India and Colombia," said Amit Srivastava, coordinator of the India Resource Center.

For more information, visit www.IndiaResource.org


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