Volume 93, Issue 18

Thursday, September 29, 1999


Councillor asks for student vote on pay

Cola deal foes flat at U of T

Pot charges put on shelf by crown

Toronto police prevent march to take back night


Buzz Mecca

Caught on campus

Cola deal foes flat at U of T

By Paul-Mark Rendon
Gazette Staff

A deal to make Coca-Cola the exclusive soft drink at the University of Toronto has lost its fizz and student representatives at the school are claiming victory against a would-be monopoly.

Megan Easton, media relations spokesperson for U of T, said the university had been pursuing a deal with the beverage company for some time, but came to a consensus to turn it down last Wednesday. "Basically, [the university] felt the deal did not have community support," she said.

Easton added the decision to drop the negotiations was not yet final, but would require further discussion by the university community before a deal could be re-tabled.

Paul Kutasi, U of T Students' Administrative Council vice-president, said he was happy the deal did not push through. "We weren't behind having a single source beverage deal from the beginning. Basically, they tend to create a monopoly on campus," he said.

He explained even if the deal had gone through, the dynamics of the U of T campus may not have benefited Coca-Cola, since the campus' downtown location gives students ample opportunity to eat off-campus and choose non-Coca-Cola products.

Kutasi said the contract negotiations had been in the works for about a year and added although the main campus has made the decision not to choose Coke, affiliated colleges are free to pursue a deal. "It still allows for colleges to negotiate on their own, but I don't think that will happen – there's still so much dissent," he said. "The whole deal was just not in the interests of students."

However, Susan Banks, VP-public for Coca-Cola Ltd., said she was still awaiting official word from the university on the status of the deal. "I'm not aware a final decision has been made, but we remain open to the opportunity to expand and improve our beverage and meet the specific needs of our customers," she said.

SzeJack Tan, University Students' Council president, said any exclusive beverage contract at Western would be hard to compare to similar deals at other schools. "Each single source beverage deal is different. Everyone's got different circumstances. In their case, the issue might have been corporatization. In our case, the issues are a little different," he said.

Still, Tan said a similar deal at Western would serve the best interests of students. "We wouldn't commit students to a deal that wasn't good for them."

"Right now we're sort of at an impasse, but it's always a long process, there are a lot of checks and balances," Tan said of the USC's current single source beverage deal negotiations. "We'd want to make sure the deal benefited all students before we signed a deal that possibly locks us in for 10 years," he added.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999