Tuesday, November 4, 2003


Written by Laura Shaw

Midterm tomorrow...eyes dropping...so tired...need caffeine...I walk downstairs to grab a cold Coke out of the vending machine and I see that someone has cleverly placed a sticker on one of the Coca Cola options...except this one says “Coca Killer” instead of “Coca Cola” and “http://www.cokewatch.org” is written in small print along the side. Intrigued, I buy a juice instead and go back up to my room to procrastinate a little more, “but in the name of education!” So I’m at CokeWatch.org and it’s half propagandha, some scary facts, and it gets me thinking about the Coca Cola Monopoly in this school. And I start really thinking about it. And I invite you to think about it with me.

So why does a huge corporation have a complete monopoly over what we drink at this university? Shouldn’t there be room for different companies so that prices vary and students have a choice? What if we have serious problems with the way that Coca Cola runs its business? (and if you go to the website and do some reading, you’ll switch to Pepsi pretty quickly I think) Why is pop cheaper than juice? Why do they give out free pop some days in the cafs instead of free juice or free milk? Isn’t obesity, diabetes and tooth decay, not to mention the fact that many students eat poorly and could desperately use those last minute vitamins and calcium enough that juice would be at least the same price, if not cheaper than pop?

And if you think that by choosing Minute Maid, you’re off the hook, think again: they’re owned by Coca Cola. In fact, the company let a Brazilian juice company, Cutrale, take over their Florida plant in 1996, and since then, have had three separate juice recalls, worker safety has fallen apart and the factory has been failing safety and health inspections left right and centre.

If you want to read about Coca Cola’s human rights violations, there are articles, websites and campaigns galore online, they’re not hard to find. I tried a few searches on Google.com: “Coca Cola human rights”, “Coca Cola unions” and “Coca Cola Colombia” to name a few, and was shocked at what I found. Coca Cola has been accused of using death squads to do their bidding; killing, exiling, torturing and imprisoning employees in their factories in Colombia.

Personally, I’d like to know how the company can justify its addictive, sugary beverage when obesity, diabetes and cancer rates are climbing, not to mention the human rights violations. Why does the university allow for a monopoly to exist? How much money are they getting, and why are dollar signs more important than integrity and student health?

For more info, check out these sites:
Coke Watch
Community Action for Justice in the Americas

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