May 16, 2005 – Student activists and members of the grassroots Campaign to Stop Killer Coke are declaring victory at the news that Rutgers University is dropping Coca-Cola in favor of a competitor for its lucrative soft drink contract.
The school announced last week that beginning June 1, all vending machines, dining halls and restaurants on its New Brunswick, Newark and Camden campuses would feature Pepsi products now that a $17 million contract has been worked out.
According to the campaign's Website, students at more than 90 universities, colleges and high schools around the world are actively protesting against the soft-drink giant's vendor contracts. They claim that Coke has taken water from poor communities while leaving toxic wastes behind, that it backed Colombian paramilitaries that murdered a labor leader in 1996, and supported attempts to thwart efforts by Guatemalan Coke employees to organize during the 1980s.
A Rutgers spokesperson said that officials did listen to students' concerns, but that the university chose Pepsi because its proposal was more lucrative.
With 50,000 students, Rutgers is one of the largest universities in the US.