A Resolution of the Unified Student Government 07r04
Sponsor: USGA JUSTICE Committee;
Ryan Ward, Vice President of Financial Affairs
Student Representation and Coca-Cola Contract Reconsideration
Whereas: In the past, the Unified Student Government Association was involved with the campaigns to bring fair trade coffee to Loyola and to create the Shareholder's Advocacy Committee of the Board of Trustees, and
Whereas: These changes have been successful and positive changes to the university, and
Whereas: USGA is charged with providing "an open forum for dialogue and a voice for student opinions concerning the traditions, ideas, and affairs of the University; to render services to the students; and to afford students the opportunity to participate in the managing of their own affairs," and
Whereas: Loyola's contract with Coca-Cola is set to expire in June, and
Whereas: 8 murders, along with numerous accounts of beatings and torture, have been perpetrated at Coca-Cola bottling plants in Colombia against union organizers, and
Whereas: A long term beverage contract with Coca-Cola would only support the Human Rights violations which Coke refuses to acknowledge or investigate, and
Whereas: The Vending Committee has denied student representation, and students ought to have a voice in what they will consume, and
Whereas: This committee misled involved students by first indicating that the decision was to be made in December, then changing the information provided to inform students that the decision was to be made in just over a week,
Therefore: Be it resolved by the Unified Student Government Association, that the following letter be sent to the members of the Vending Committee, Father Garanzini, William Laird, Loyola's Chief Financial Officer, and any other individual or group that may participate in the decision making for the new beverage contract (brackets indicate the name of the recipient):
[To Whom it May Concern]:
We, the Loyola University Unified Student Government Association, do hereby condemn he methodology with which the Vending Committee, charged with selecting the company to provide the University with soft drinks, has arrived at its decisions regarding the future beverage contracts. We believe that any decision so closely linked with the student body ought to include a direct form of student representation. Furthermore, any such committee should seek out student input, as well as provide essential information to any inquiring students.
We resent the manner in which information has been provided just days before important meetings. With such a complex issue, time is required to organize and educate students in an appropriate fashion. When students have expressed an interest, it is unacceptable to provide information in anything but a timely fashion.
As the elected representatives of the Student Body, we are required to seek out information when requested by students and student organizations. When student leaders forward these questions to the Administration, they should receive clear answers, within the confines that confidentiality may require. Questions directed to all of the corporations under consideration, such as "have concerns about human rights abuses been raised to company representatives?" deserve straight forward answers.
We, the Unified Student Government Association, also hear and convey the student call to not renew the beverage contract with Coca-Cola, based on the documented human rights violations at their bottling plants and their failure to comply with requests for independent investigations. When students actively and intelligently express their wishes to the administration, they deserve to have these imperatives met because they are the group directly impacted by the administration's choices.
It is time for Loyola University of Chicago to join with DePaul University, University of Illinois, New York University, Rutgers, Lake Forest College, Hofstra University, and Santa Clara University, by not renewing our contract with Coke. We believe that, without restricting personal choice to seek Coke elsewhere, we have an imperative as a center of higher learning to not support businesses with documented human rights violations.
The USGA demands the Vending Committee to extend its search period, push back their deadline, and take seriously and encourage student input in order to arrive at an informed, morally justifiable final decision after asking every candidate probing questions regarding their treatment of employees abroad.
Thank you for your time,
Unified Student Government Association
Loyola University of Chicago
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