April 7, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 99  

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Politicos get nastier over Coke deal

By Allison Buchan-Terrell
Gazette Staff

The Society of Graduate Students issued a press release Monday stating a Canadian Federation of Students representative was responsible for an anonymous e-mail protesting against the SOGS-owned Grad Club’s exclusivity deal with Coca-Cola.

The press release connected the e-mail with Rick Telfer, CFS Ontario National Executive Representative, and alleged it was sent to SOGS members and councillors under the e-mail address sogs-bulletin@uwo.ca.

“The address was a SOGS address, which seems to imply it was a notice from the society,” said Daryl White, president of SOGS.

“I don’t think we want to divert the issue — it’s not the information that troubles us, it’s the method,” he said, adding he received an e-mail from a concerned member regarding Telfer’s message.

Telfer said the e-mail was sent by himself personally as a former SOGS executive and concerned Western alumni, and not an instruction from CFS.

Telfer explained he sent the e-mail because the Coca-Cola deal is about making a decision in a democratic organization that effects members for five years.

“There is something bigger here — I was a whistle-blower,” Telfer said, noting that as a former SOGS VP-Finance, friends and members from SOGS contacted him with their concerns.

Telfer’s concerns regarded Coca-Cola’s record as a company with regards to human rights and the environment.

“Why is Daryl White making an issue of how it was raised, and not about the issue itself — the issue is Coke’s track record with human rights,” he said.
White said they are not trying to divert attention from the issue, stating SOGS sees it as a separate issue.

“No one believes it was [CFS] action,” White said, adding there has to be respect for local affairs, and Telfer’s complaint did not go through the proper channels.

“I believe Rick had a conversation with Daryl to say he was acting on his own — taking an interest in SOGS,” said Cynthia Leighton, a second-year theory and criticism PhD student. “Because the motion was going to be passed and signing was imminent — there was an urgency and a need to reach as many people as possible.”

“I think it is important to stay focused on the issue at hand — this clouds the issue at heart,” said Chris Stroud, a second-year social justice and peace studies student.

“I don’t understand what the concern is — I am constantly getting e-mails from the registrar and alumni news, [so] to have such a fury over this speaks a move to feelings over the issue,” Leighton said.



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