Coke Loses Exclusive Contract for Colleges
Student activists who mounted an anti-Coke campaign at Fresno City
College won a victory Tuesday when the State Center Community College
District opened the door to ending Coca-Cola's dominance on its campuses.
Coke has the exclusive soda contract at City College, Reedley College
and smaller college centers in Clovis, Madera and Oakhurst. But the
activists pressed for a change because they charge Coke has violated
human rights and hurt the environment in Latin America and Asia. Coke
says the charges are not true.
State Center trustees voted 5-2 to allow each campus to decide which
company or companies sell soda at their sites. Student activists --
some carrying protest signs -- came to the trustees' meeting to make
District spokeswoman Teresa Patterson estimated the students numbered
City College, with 23,000 students, seems most likely to get an additional
soda vendor, according to a district report. A majority of City College's
Academic Senate didn't want trustees to renew Coke's exclusive contract,
and the associated student government wants more than one vendor.
However, student leaders at the district's smaller centers say they
want to stay with Coke, and a committee of administrators and others
support the students, the report said.
In Reedley, the Academic Senate took no position, and student leaders
say they prefer an exclusive contract.
Trustee Dorothy Smith, who voted in the majority, said, "This is still
America. We should have a choice."
But trustee Patrick Patterson, who voted "no," said if the district
wanted to be responsible, it should ban all sodas because of their
high sugar content.
Coke officials did not return phone calls seeking comment.
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