The Michigan Daily - Monday, April 17, 2006 - 3C
Coca-Cola under fire
F Student activists pressure 'U' to uphold vendor code of conduct
Coke Coalition asks 'U' to cut contracts
'U' suspends contracts with soft-drink giant
May 3, 2005
By Jameel Naqvi
Daily Staff Reporter
The University's Dispute Review Board - cre-
ated last year to hear complaints against Universi-
ty vendors and suppliers - held a public hearing
last week on the Coca-Cola Company's allegedly
unethical labor and environmental practices in
Colombia and India.
Representatives from the Coke Coalitionand Coca-
Cola addressed the DRB and an audience of students
mostly sympathetic to the coalition in the Anderson
Room of the Michigan Union Monday afternoon.
If the board is convinced that Coca-Cola is in vio-
lation of the Code of Conduct for University Vendors,
it could recommend that the University terminate its
12 contracts with Coca-Cola - which cost the Uni-
'U' reviews propsal for
October 3, 2005
By Jeremy Davidson
Daily Staff Reporter
The University is reviewing The Coca-Cola Com-
pany's proposal for a third-party audit of its operations
in Colombia and India, where the University and a
coalition of students allege the soft drink vendor has
committed human rights violations.
The University received the proposal late on Friday
- which was the deadline for Coca-Cola to agree to an
independent audit or potentially have its contract with
the'University cut. In June, the University's Dispute
Review Board set the deadline when it was reviewing
the alleged human rights abuses.
versity $1.3 million in fiscal year 2004, according to
University spokeswoman Julie Peterson.
The DRB is investigating the company in response
to a recommendation from University Purchasing
Services calling for a formal review of Coca-Cola's
practices. Purchasing began its informal investigation
after student groups voiced concerns and the Michi-
gan Student Assembly passed a resolution calling for
an inquiry about the allegations. The Coke Coalition
- an umbrella group that includes Students Organiz-
ing for Labor and Economic Equality and the Univer-
sity chapter of Amnesty International - has pressured
the University to sever its ties with Coca-Cola.
. The coalition was joined recently by the United
Asian American Organizations - which is com-
prised of more than 30 Asian Pacific American
campus groups - and the Graduate Employees'
Peggy Norgren, the University's associate vice pres-
ident of finance, said she and Chief Financial Officer
Timothy Slottow will make a recommendation to Uni-
versity President Mary Sue Coleman on what action
to take regarding the University's contract with Coca-
Cola within the next few days. Though Norgren
and Slottow can consult the Dispute Review
Board, the ultimate decision on what
course of action to recommend rests
Norgren left open the possibil-
ity that they could recommend that
the University sever its ties with
Coca-Cola if they find the com-
pany's proposal inadequate.
January 5, 2006
By Jeremy Davidson and Karl Stampfl
Daily Staff Reporters
After 10 months of conflict, the University
decided Dec. 29 to suspend purchasing of Coca-
Cola products following the company's failure to
meet a deadline set by the University's Dispute
The DRB, a committee in charge of reviewing
complaints against the Vendor Code of Conduct,
had asked Coke to choose an independent investi-
gator to look into alleged human rights violations
in Asia and South America by Dec. 31.
In a letter dated Dec. 16, Coke said it
would miss that deadline, due to what the
company called "legal risks" stemming
from a current Florida lawsuit in which the
company is defending itself from charges of
human rights violations. The company does
not want the results of the investigation to be
used against it in the suit.
In response to the University's decision, Coke
released a statement saying it is "exploring other
ways that we might be able to conduct an addi-
tional credible, objective and impartial indepen-
dent third-party assessment in Colombia without
incurring legal risks."
Coca-Cola spokeswoman Kari Bjorhus
said the company is exploring several options
for conducting an assessment, but she could
not say whether it would be able to meet the
March 31 deadline.
The DRB recommended in June that Coke
adhere to a list of five deadlines spaced out
over the 2005-2006 academic year.
'U' reinstates contracts with Coca-Cola
April 12, 2006
By Jeremy Davidson
Daily Staff Rporter
The University resumed purchasing Coca-
Cola products yesterday about four months after
it suspended its contracts with Coke because the
company wouldn't agree to an audit of its alleged
human rights violations.
Coke products will be back in vending
machines on campus within a few days.
The company has proposed two inde-
pendent investigations into its labor prac-
tices in India and Colombia. The University
accepted them, drawing both ire and praise
The University received a letter from Coca-Cola
on Monday that said the company is working with
two organizations to conduct independent inves-
tigations, one to assess its practices in Colombia
and the other in India.
Since suspending purchasing of Coca-Cola in
December, the University has been working with
the company to find a mutually acceptable third-
party auditor. -
The International Labor Organization, a branch
of the United Nations that upholds internationally
recognized human and labor rights, agreed on
March 24 to conduct an independent investigation
of the company in Colombia.
One year later, campus reacts to
America's war on terrorism
Student body, divided on Bush
administration policies, expected
war against Iraq
September 11, 2002
By Rob Goodspeed
Daily Staff Reporter
One question asked after the attacks of Sept. I1
remains to be fully answered: How will the Unit-
ed States respond? As the nation's reactions to the
attacks continue, ranging from military actions
abroad to policy changes at home, many have paid
close attention to the opinions of the University
President Bush's announced War on Terrorism has
been the subject of only muted criticism on campus,
while activists who support and oppose Bush's poli-
cies agree the student body remains divided.
"I was shocked and horrified of the events of
Sept. 11," said RC prof. Helen Fox, chair of the Ann
Arbor human rights commission.
"I was even more shocked and horrified to see
our president's and our government's response,"
Fox said. Fox said she was particularly disturbed
by the inflamed rhetoric the President used in
his speech, which dwelled on labeling a "good"
and "evil" side in the fight against terrorism. Fox
added that she joined a community peace organi-
zation and plans to teach a course on nonviolence
during winter term.
Music sophomore Amy Ridenou had a very differ-
ent reaction to Sept. 11; she enlisted in the Army.
"I felt so drawn to serve my country and to back up my
opinions on military action," Ridenou said. She joined
the Army on Oct. 20 and skipped classes winter term to
attend basic training. Ridenou said some of her friends
had lost loved ones in the attacks, and she believed in pur-
suing those responsible with military force.
"A lot of people are blown away that I would
do that," said Ridenou, who added that her friends
have been supportive. "I don't want to make myself
seem noble, but everyone takes our country for
granted. ... Sept. 11 changed my life."
Both peace activists and those who support the
Bush administration's policies said they expected
U.S. involvement in Iraq.
"I think we are going to war in Iraq," Fox said.
"The facts that thousands of innocent civilians are
going to be hurt when we go in with ill-defined
goals ... troubles me."
Ridenou saw the matter differently.
"My unit is one of the first to go on mission,
and it's very possible that I could be leaving the
(University)," Ridenou said. She added that it
"scares me but I embrace it completely, it's such
an opportunity to go into a country - Iraq or
Afghanistan - and serve. ... I love it and I'm so
happy that my love for it hasn't dwindled."
Some students were troubled by the Bush
"My reaction is that calling it a 'War on Terror'
was Bush's first mistake," said Kirsten Schwind,
a graduate student in the School of Natural
Resources and the Environment and a member of
the Ann Arbor Committee for Peace and Justice.
"The word "war" ... pretty much foretold a lot of
bloody killing of innocent people."
Mi~chi~gamua commits to reforms
The proposed renovations to the Big House, which could cost $170 million,
could include the addition of luxury boxes, concourses and club seats.
S'U' starts search for
architectural firms to
January 24, 2005
By Allison Go & Sharad Mattu
Daily Staff Reporters
Renovations to Michigan Stadium
are one step closer to fruition now
that the University's athletic depart-
ment has asked eight architectural
firms for bids on the design and com-
pletion of these changes.
The proposed renovations, which
would dramatically change the look
of the stadium, include adding pre-
mium seats through the addition of
luxury boxes and club seats atop
the stands on both sidelines, while
also widening seats and aisles and
improving amenities, such as rest-
rooms and concession stands. The
athletic department estimates that
the alterations could cost $170 mil-
"The initiative for doing this is
first and foremost to fix the bowl -
to bring it up to current standards,"
Athletic Director Bill Martin said.
"I want to make Michigan Stadium
so that the oampacv exneriance for
"After the final football game in
November you could start construc-
tion," Martin said. "Then you work
up until the football season," then
stop. As soon as football season ends,
you go back to work and finish it for
the next football season.
"The most important thing is that
we do this right. So let's take our
time and let's listen to our fans, our
alums and our students. We have to
reach out and involve as many of our
supporters as we can in the design
and planning process."
There are several major aspects
of the renovations that are meant to
address the "functionally obsolete"
aspects of the stadium, Winters said.
The plans that address these defi-
ciencies were primarily drawn up by
HNTB, one of the architectural firms
offered a bid. HNTB, which is based
out of Kansas City, has also been work-
ing with the University since 2001 on
construction projects all over the ath-
One major feature of the proposed
renovations is the addition of luxury
boxes and club seats installed along
the east and west sidelines. The
existing press box would be torn
down and rebuilt .and 5632 seats
In sweeping reform,
controversial society drops name,
releases list of members
April 12, 2006
By Andrew Grossman and Karl Stampfl
Daily Staff Reporters
After 104 years as Michigamua, the University's
most controversial student group announced yester-
day that it has retired its name and plans to have a
new one in the fall. The society also made public the
members of its classes of 2006 and 2007.
"Upon consideration of our overriding principle of
service and gaining significant input from our broad-
er Michigan family, our organization has determined
that we will continue this tradition without using the
name Michigamua," the group said yesterday in a
written statement to The Michigan Daily.
The announcement was met with mixed reac-
tions on campus.
The reformation comes in response to years of
criticism and claims that the senior honor society
was racist because it had previously used Native
American rituals and artifacts in its meetings. The
name Michigamua was chosen in 1902 to sound like
a mythical Native American tribe.
The group is mostly composed of athletes and
the leaders of campus groups. The "Pride of 2007"
includes Michigan Student Assembly President
Nicole Stallings, Michigan football player Adam
Kraus and Interfraternity Council President Jon
LSA junior Brittany Marino, outgoing co-chair of
the Native American Student Association, lauded the
reforms, but cautioned that they are not enough.
"I think that the name change is a huge step and
obviously something that the Native community has
been calling for a long time, so I'm very glad to see
the name change," she said. "But I think it's only one
of the many steps that need to be taken. We still have
a ways to go."
Marino said Michigamua members past and
present should recognize the pain they've caused
on campus with an apology and by holding edu-
The group, which cut its ties with the University in
2000, is also examining the possibility of becoming a
University-sanctioned group again by going through
the Student Organization And Recognition process.
"Among the many options that our group is con-
sidering is if, how, and when we will once again offi-
cially register as a student organization," the group
said in a written statement.
Dean of Students Susan Eklund and Susan
Wilson, director of the Office of Student Activi-
ties and Leadership, which is responsible for the
recognition of student groups, recently met with
group members to discuss the path to official rec-
ognition by the University.
Any group that wishes to be recognized must sub-
mit a constitution to Wilson's office, register with
MSA and agree to follow the University's nondis-
"Anything that smacked of racism or exclusion
would be a problem," Wilson said.
While the Office of Student Activities and Leader-
ship has not refused recognition to any student group
since the SOAR process began at the beginning of
this semester, some groups have chosen not to seek
recognition after learning of the requirements, Wil-
"It was my impression during that conversation
that while they may have thought that recognition
was in the future, I always thought it was in the dis-
tant future," Eklund said.
Wilson and Eklund also advised group mem-
bers on the way administrators and students per-
ceive the group.
Wilson said the group could use the recognition
process to allay the concerns of some members of the
"If there's a group that has to be accountable in its
practices and its membership in order to be recog-
nized, that would enhance its credibility with some
people," she said.