A COMMITTEE that will publicise and investigate the reasons behind the Students’ Union (SU) boycott against Coca-Cola is expected to form in a number of weeks. It is expected that the remainder of the current semester will be used to establish the committee, who will spend the second semester examining the boycott.
SU Campaigns and Communications Officer, Dan O’Neill, disclosed that he wants to establish the committee as soon as possible and hopes that they will spend the next semester launching their information campaign.
“The committee’s going to start when I get enough interested parties,” explained Mr O’Neill. “I don’t want to pre-empt the committee, it depends on what issues arise. It will be very much up to the people on the committee to decide when they want to finish it”.
The committee is expected to consist mainly of class representatives but is open to any student who expresses an interest in a position.
“The committee would have a fairly open agenda so that people can express their concerns or support for the campaign,” stated Mr O’Neill. “It’s going to discuss the issue [and] what action it should take.”
Mr O’Neill admitted that any decision regarding the boycott would have to be passed by SU council as the committee’s role is to solely make recommendations.
“The committee isn’t going to make any policy, it is going to discuss the issue and what actions it should take,” explained Mr O’Neill. “It’s up to council and up to a referendum to make the policy so we’re going to discuss the policy already in existence.”
One of the aims of the committee is to raise awareness of the boycott. Mr O’Neill mentioned the importance of how the committee should explain “why the SU are having the boycott… it’s only right that students should know about it and be told”
Mr O’Neill expressed a strong need in having a dialogue on this issue, believing in the importance of students making their own decisions regarding the boycott.
“If students are just talking about this issue it’s good because I think in a university, we should be having discussions on important topics,” said Mr O’Neill. “I want to give the students the right information so that they can make the choice about whether or not they want to support the [Coca-cola] company or not”.
The Coca-Cola boycott has been in place since 2003 after Columbian trade unions called for a worldwide boycott followimg reports linking Coca-Cola to human rights abuse. The SU council passed a mandate last term to form a committee to investigate and examine the boycott.