Coca-Cola Kicked Out of University of Illinois
Coalition Against Coke Contracts
For Immediate Release
August 7, 2007
Faiza Zafar [firstname.lastname@example.org], Shivali Tukdeo [email@example.com]
Urbana Champaign: In another landmark victory for
student campaigns against Coca-Cola, the company has been kicked out
of the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. U of I is the third
university this summer -- following Smith College in the U.S. and
the Banaras Hindu University in India -- to have terminated its beverage
contract with Coca-Cola. Coalition Against Coke Contracts (CACC),
the group that led the campaign at UIUC, dedicates this victory to
the indomitable fighting spirit of communities ravaged by Coke --
from Colombia to India.
Coca-Cola has been the exclusive beverage provider at the University
of Illinois since 1997. According to the terms of the contract, only
Coke products were sold on campus. Such monopolistic arrangements
have been emblematic of the growing corporatization of education.
The contract between University of Illinois and Coca-Cola received
much criticism from students, faculty, staff and the local community
for, among other reasons, the company's labor & human rights abuse
and environmental degradation in India, Colombia, Indonesia and Turkey.
In Colombia, for instance, Coca-Cola's union busting efforts in collaboration
with the paramilitaries have resulted in the death of eight union
leaders since 1989. Similarly, workers in Coke bottling plants in
Turkey and Indonesia have been routinely subjected to violence and
intimidation upon attempting to unionize. In India, the company is
involved in massive extraction and pollution of ground water. The
pollution control board of Kerala, India, has found out that Coca-Cola
is responsible for dumping toxic waste into the fields and water around
its plants. Further, independent investigations of Coca-Cola products
in India have been found to include high levels of pesticides.
For the past two years, CACC, a student & community group in Champaign
Urbana has forcefully demanded that the University end its business
relationship with Coca-Cola in light of the company's egregious records.
It has further demanded a public statement from the administration
regarding, what has been stated by Chancellor Hermand as "Coca-Cola's
recalcitrance" on the afore-mentioned issues. More than 25 local groups
joined the coalition, holding numerous dialogs with the administration
and organizing public actions. Even as the current contract with Coca-Cola
expired on June 30, CACC organized "the last day of contract" action
that involved soda-tasting of a range of locally produced beverages.
For the new beverage contract, the University of Illinois has decided
to comply with the State's decision to grant pouring rights to Pepsi.
CACC has always been vocal about supporting local businesses and vendors
over big corporations. The numerous soda-tasting events organized
by CACC over the the past year received an overwhelming response.
CACC welcomes the University's decision not to do business with Coca-Cola
and hopes that the retail stores outside the contract with Pepsi will
take into account the choice of campus community and provide locally
Earlier this year, the Urbana Champaign campus made a historic decision
to put an end to its racist mascot, thanks to a broad-based campus-wide
movement. Non-renewal of the contract with Coca-Cola is another step
toward creating a progressive campus. CACC hopes that the University
administration will take affirmative steps toward making sure that
it does not enter into business relationships with corporations that
have no respect for human and labor rights. Finally, the inclusion
of progressive student groups in long-term decision making would be
a positive way of achieving this.
For more information, visit Coalition
Against Coke Contracts
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