Volume 93, Issue 84

Thursday, March 9, 2000


Budget unveiled to council

Funding bypasses liberal arts

Coca-Cola campaign leaves bad aftertaste

City considers posting restaurant health and safety violations

Hampton talks shop in UCC



Caught on campus 1

Caught on campus 2

Caught on campus 3

Coca-Cola campaign leaves bad aftertaste

By Aaron Wherry
Gazette Staff

Today's student referendum to determine "the real thing" at McGill University has turned chaotic, as those for and against a deal with Coca-Cola are embroiled in a bitter debate.

Andrew Tischler, president of the Students' Society of McGill University, said an agreement with the beverage bottler would make Coca-Cola products the exclusive beverages available on campus and would bring in millions of dollars to the university.

This money is needed because of consistent under-funding by the government, he said.

"I'm not going to hold my breath and wait around for the government," Tischler said, adding $1.5 million from the deal would go directly to the Student Union Building for renovations. Further funds would then be split 50/50 between the students and administration.

Tischler said the committee pushing students to vote against the deal in today's referendum had undermined the whole process.

"The 'No' side has broken every electoral by-law we have," he said. "They might have jeopardized the whole campaign."

Chief Returning Officer for the Students' Society, Paul Ficker, said he had fined the "No" committee and given the "Yes" committee extra advertising to compensate, however the problem is far from one-sided.

"I want to make it clear that both sides have violated election by-laws," he said.

Because of these problems, Ficker said he decided to meet with both committees when the polls close at 5 p.m. tonight to ask whether they want to go through with the vote counting.

"If both sides want the votes to be counted, we will," he said. "If both sides don't want us to count the votes, we won't. If one side wants the votes counted and the other does not, then the fun begins."

Samira Rahmani, head of the "No" committee, said she was concerned about possible human rights violations by Coca-Cola, as well as some technicalities concerning the contract.

"Only two students at McGill have been allowed to see the actual contract," she said, adding she had been informed the deal included quotas on how much Coca-Cola would be consumed by the student body.

"If we don't consume enough, they won't have to pay us and will basically be here for free."

Sandra Banks, vice-president of public affairs for the Coca-Cola Bottling Company, said she was unaware of the problems at McGill. "We don't have any direct role in the referendum," she said. "Our role is to work with the university and put together the best proposal for all parties."

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