FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 14, 2015
Reference: Jordan Ilagan, Chairperson, LFS-SFSU, firstname.lastname@example.org
FIL-AM YOUTH AND STUDENTS CONDEMN THE SELLING OF POURING RIGHTS TO COCA-COLA AND PEPSI
The League of Filipino Students (LFS) condemns the selling of pouring rights to Coca-Cola and Pepsi at San Francisco State University. Coca-Cola and Pepsi are not welcome on campus due to their unsustainable practices, poor record of human rights and invasive expansion into third world countries,.
The selling of pouring rights to either Coca-Cola or Pepsi is only the latest in the attempts to privatize and corporatize SFSU by President Leslie Wong. While President Wong claims that he is working for the best interests of the students, it is clear that he only has the best intentions for the profit of the university.
Coca-Cola, in their presentation, claimed that it was striving “to make positive differences in the world in three areas: water, women, and well-being.” Coca-Cola also claimed to be an empowering force in the community, especially for women. They asserted that they also had the best interests of the university in mind, stating that they wanted to work with students and alleged that the campus’s history of activism will lead to great relations between the university and Coca-Cola.
“I can’t say that I believe you have the interest of the students and student activists in mind when you can’t honor these workers,” Jordan Ilagan said during the question and answer portion of the presentation. “You can’t honor these collective agreements that have been happening that are endangering the well-being of the workers and their families, that are endangering the well-being of the women in the Philippines, endangering the water supply in the Philippines.”
Similarly, Pepsi in their presentation to students claimed that their company was working towards sustainability and helping the community through campus influence. By claiming innovations in recycling and providing healthy products, Pepsi representatives spoke about providing healthy alternatives as well as improving environmental practices.
“Diabetes is becoming a growing epidemic in low income minority communities,” spoke a Health Education professor at SFSU, “in my home country Brazil, it’s plain to see the damage that Pepsi Co has done in the neighborhoods and especially to indigenous people.
LFS stood along with representatives of multiple student groups, workers’ groups, and faculty members in exposing the lies that the representatives of Coca-Cola and Pepsi were presenting. SFSU students and faculty spoke about the impact of Coca-Cola on a global scale, such as the destruction of water systems in India, deforestation in other countries, and rampant human rights violations in El Salvador and Colombia, including the forced disappearances of labor union leaders.
Students and faculty demanded an audience with President Wong, calling for a public town hall meeting. Real Food Challenge, the main opponent of the selling of Pouring Rights, along with other student groups at SFSU were able to gather over 800 signatures from students prior to Coke and Pepsi’s arrival. The mobilization included the participation of students, professors, and workers unions coming together in order to fight against these large corporations.
In the Philippines, Coca-Cola is guilty of harassing and endangering the lives of union leaders as well as offering unfair wages for workers in the Philippines. Coca-Cola refuses to acknowledge the collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) proposed by worker unions and instead made propositions that can lead to massive layoffs, outsourcing, and threatening of job security. Coca-Cola has played a pivotal role in the weakening of worker’s unions all over the world and being implicit in the use of death squads and other forms of violence to destroy union organizing.
As youth and students of San Francisco State University, we must continue to the fight against the intensifying attempts at privatization on campus. We must unite our struggle with the struggles of the faculty and staff in order to truly fight against these corporations. We must struggle for genuine pro-people education and continue San Francisco State University’s rich history of youth and student resistance against corporations.
For more information about pouring rights and how to fight against Coca-Cola and Pepsi, please follow our allies at Real Food Challenge on social media.
Sign RFC’s petition against Pouring Rights here.
STOP POURING RIGHTS AT SFSU! STOP THE PRIVATIZATION OF CORPORATIONS ON CAMPUS!