Contract with Coke in limbo
In spite of a contract with Coca-Cola signed in 1997 that gave the soft drink giant exclusive distribution rights on campus, Pepsi products have appeared in the Expressway convenience store and other Aramark-operated locations."Right now, in the C-store, there are Pepsi products," said Aramark District Manager Barbara Laverdiere.
In 2000, Aramark signed a contract with Brandeis to become the new dining service provider. Laverdiere said that although Aramark is not under the same contract, it is still a part of the University and honors the University's prior agreements.
"We've asked the University to negotiate on our behalf, so we can continue to carry non-Coke products," Laverdiere said.
In addition to the C-Store, other dining facilities carry Tropicana, Frito-Lay and Gatorade products, all of which are distributed by Pepsi. According to Laverdiere, all of these products have been carried for at least three years.
"On our end, nothing has changed," Laverdiere said.
Although Laverdiere said she has spoken to Associate Vice President of University Services Mark Collins about renegotiating the Coca-Cola contract, Collins said the matter had not become an issue.
"At this point in time, we're not being asked to remove anything at all," Collins said. "If it needs to be moved, we'll move it, but we have no intention of moving products right now."
Upon further questioning as to why the University was allowing Pepsi products to be on campus when it had a contract with Coca-Cola, Collins said, "I have no comment."
But he emphasized that although "contractually (Coca-Cola) has the right to (request the removal of Pepsi products), all relations have to have flexibility. Contracts are exclusive, but not really exclusive."
Brandeis signed with Coca-Cola in 1997 because they outbid Pepsi. In an August 1997 issue of the Justice, then-Vice President for Administration Shelley Kaplan said, "It was a purely financial decision."
Earlier that year though, in February, students protested against Pepsi for its business involvement with Myanmar and widely known for its human rights abuses. In the Feb. 4 issue of the Justice, David Freidenrich wrote, "the resolution (to boycott Pepsi) passed by a 17-1 margin before news arrived that Pepsi had committed to ending its operations in the Southeast Asian country, widely cited for human rights abuses, by May 31." After the announcement, the senate rescinded the resolution, which "would have prohibited the senate from purchasing or providing Pepsi products at events which it sponsors," Freidenrich wrote.
The 1997 contract with Coca-Cola also stipulated that Coca-Cola provide the University with funding for renovation of the old game room, located in the basement behind the old bookstore in Usdan.
Kaplan, now an administrator at Babson College, said he could not remember if Coca-Cola ever provided the promised funding, but Alwina Bennett, Assistant Dean of Student Life, said she did not believe any money ever came through from Coca-Cola.
As far as Landry and Bennett know, the new game room is receiving no money from Coca-Cola though.
"The funding for this space is not from Coke," Landry said.
Whether the old game room received additional funding from Coca-Cola or not, a new one is in the process of being assembled.
"The new one will be where the old bookstore was, since the bookstore is now in the Shapiro Campus Center," said Operations Coordinator in Student Activities Patty Landry. "This past week, they have been putting pool tables together and Josh Brandfon and Stephanie Grimes have been cleaning tables and taking down signs."
Those who have been working on the new game room hope the new location will attract more students than the last one, which was infrequently used.
"The basement of Usdan is not a high traffic area," said Associate Director of Student Activities Stephanie Grimes. "A group of students pushed for a space like the location of the old bookstore for a game room on campus."
Coca-Cola was unavailable for comment regarding Brandeis' contract with them or the promised funding for the game room.