Volume 92, Issue 17

Thursday, October 1, 1998

decisions decisions


Always Coca-Cola?

By Dave Yasvinski
Gazette Staff

A committee of several Western groups met Tuesday to discuss a proposal put forward to the university by Coca-Cola which would make the company the single source beverage provider on campus.

The committee, composed of representatives from the University Students' Council, administration, housing and food services and intercollegiate athletics met for two hours to voice their opinions on Coke's offer. None of these opinions were made public, however.

"We discussed the proposals and there is ongoing work. We've each done individual analysis and we compared notes," said Jim Walden, general manager of the USC.

Walden stressed he was not at liberty to discuss specific details because of the confidential nature of the proposal and the meetings. "The negotiations are private in nature. When and if there are significant developments it will be decided when and how they will be announced," he said.

Walden did say the groups composing the committee still have individual analyses to make and many more committee meetings are required before a response can be made. "I don't think we came to a consensus – the homework isn't done yet."

Ted Garrard, Western's VP-external, also emphasized the importance of maintaining the confidentiality of these meetings. "You don't negotiate business deals through the media, that's not the best way to conclude the best possible arrangement," he said.

He noted, however, the committee will take as many meetings as necessary to ensure the university obtains the best contract possible. Garrard added the existing contract Western has with Coke, which runs until the year 2000, does not preclude the university from talking to other beverage companies – although Western would be hard pressed to break its current deal.

The meetings are going well and discussions are continuing, said Ian Armour, USC president. "With a deal of this nature you don't want to miss anything, you have to make sure it's done properly," he said.

Tina Warren, of Coca-Cola corporate communications, said at this time she could only say discussions are still ongoing. "We are constantly looking at ways to add value to our customers," she said.

The next meeting of the committee is presently unscheduled.

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Copyright The Gazette 1998