Politicos get nastier over Coke deal
By Allison Buchan-Terrell
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
“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
“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.