By Dave Yasvinski
Western drew closer to a single-source beverage deal Thursday after representatives from Coca-Cola presented a university committee with a proposal to renew their existing contract with the school which expires in the year 2000.
The meeting with Coke followed a summer of meetings between the committee's members, which include representatives from the University Students' Council, Western administration, Housing and Food Services and intercollegiate athletics. The purpose of these meetings was to establish what each group wanted from such a contract and where they felt the revenues should go, USC President Ian Armour said.
The proposal provides a starting point for discussion, Armour added. "It's a first shot. There's something on the table but we still have a ways to go."
Due to its confidential nature, details of the proposal were not released.
The groups composing the committee now have time to examine it individually before they meet with each other towards the end of the month to decide if the proposal is acceptable, Armour said. "We have to come back with thresholds what we think about what they proposed."
Jim Walden, general manager of the USC, said the committee's internal talks have gone as well as could be expected. "Each group has stated its positions and expectations. There are a lot of components to this deal, because it expires in the year 2000 there is somewhat of a precedent already set that makes things more complex," he said.
Armour said one of the most important concerns of a new contract is determining where the revenues will be directed. "We feel all the money should go to student aid. It's students who will be giving up the right to choose, they're the ones who should benefit."
Walden added while it is difficult at this point to discuss the specifics of the possible new contract, it will likely prove more advantageous to Western than the existing contract. "The expectation is the new contract will be much better," he said.
There is still a lot of analysis to be done on this proposal, Walden said. He added there are a lot of issues to be considered carefully, such as beverage prices and the status of vending machine operations. "I don't think anything is final until a contract is signed," he said.
While Peter Mercer, Western's VP-administration, said he was not yet privy to all the details of the proposal, a lot of work went into it. "We think Coke has worked hard to present a proposal worthy of consideration."
He added the fact a proposal has been received indicates the committee is in a very serious stage of negotiations.
Representatives from Coca-Cola were unable to be reached for comment.