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Opinion: It's about ethics, not taste

Opinion
The Daily Targum
2/23/05

As the 10-year exclusive beverage contract the University has with the Coca-Cola Company comes to an end, it has come time to decide whether Coke will remain the drink of Rutgers or whether we should switch to Pepsi, Fuze or even develop a nonexclusive contract in which any company can compete. A major influence on this decision is the new allegation that Coca-Cola has tortured, and even killed, workers who tried to unionize in Colombia.

If the allegations are proven true, the University does have an ethical obligation to terminate the exclusive contract with Coke. Rutgers is an institution that prides itself on turning out ethical students. Rutgers has to take a moral stance on this issue.

Allegations aside, Rutgers should be looking into the various options provided by the ending of this contract. Fuze, a beverage company based out of the state, cannot normally compete on the same level as Coke or Pepsi. Since Rutgers is a state university, giving the small company a chance - at least to provide the vending machines since doing the dining halls as well may prove impossible - is definitely a step in the right direction.

If it is feasible, the University should try to make the contract nonexclusive, and instead have the companies pay by proportion. That is, pay by the number of vending machines and dining halls it supplies. This not only reflects the ideal of competition in a capitalistic society, it also allows the student body to have a choice as to its beverage selection.

By simply allowing the company who bids the most money to win an exclusive contract, Rutgers looks as if it is selling out to a corporation. Understandably, with the state perpetually reducing the funding of the University, and with the ever-increasing tuition costs that anger students and parents alike, Rutgers should be looking for an easy way to fill the budget hole. However, the University would likely make more money if it were to allow for a nonexclusive contract, since more companies would be paying each year.

In a random taste test of The Daily Targum edit board, Coke and Pepsi were enjoyed equally - just a small example of how diverse the University community is when it comes to its drink of choice.

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