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PSU Students Meet With University President to Cancel Coke-Odwalla Contract

In support of the global Coke Boycott for human rights and union rights in Colombia by the food and beverage workers union, SINALTRAINAL, PSU students met on June 22, 2005 with PSU president Dan Bernstine, to discuss Portland State's joining the boycott by canceling the University's Coke-Odwalla contract in the Smith Center student store.
On June 22, 2005, Portland State students in Portland, Oregon, including newly-elected progressive ASPSU president Erin Devaney, met with the University's president, Dan Bernstine, along with Cathy Dyck, Vice President-Finance, and John Eckman, Auxiliary Services, regarding the University's canceling the Smith student store Coke-Odwalla contract, in support of the Coke Boycott. Eight campus groups, so far, have endorsed the Coke Boycott at PSU. On July 1, 2005, PSU became the 9th, and last, college, to remove Taco Bell from the school's cafeteria, in support of the now successfully-completed Taco Bell Boycott for a living wage for Florida farm workers.
Progressive Student Union ( lc@pdx.edu) has been organizing the Coke Boycott at Portland State for over a year. John Eckman, from Auxiliary Services, was the Administration official who negotiated canceling the Taco Bell contract at the school. PSU is Oregon's largest four-year public university, with 25,000 students. Students had requested the meeting with PSU president Dan Bernstine seven times, and finally got to meet with Bernstine for an hour on June 22, 2005.
President Bernstine listened to the allegations of paramilitary use by Coke in Colombia to harass, intimidate and kill union leaders, workers and families, including Isidro Gil--and, when she was going to testify four years later in the lawsuit againt Coke, Isidro's wife. ASPSU president Erin Devaney suggested to Bernstine that the school have a referendum on whether to cancel the Coke contract in support of the boycott, but Bernstine demurred, saying instead that students should vote with their pocketbooks and simply boycott Coke-Odwalla products. Activist students plan on pursuing Erin's idea of holding a campus-wide referendum on the issue, nonetheless, and expanding the campus Coke Boycott to include the newly-arrived food service provider on campus (as of July 1, 2005), Sodexho.
Apparently, eight colleges, globally, so far, have canceled their Coke contracts in support of the boycott, including in May, 2005, Rutgers, in New Jersey. The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor (home of SDS where Tom Hayden and other students wrote the Port Huron Statement) put Coke 'on probaton' at their school, in support of the boycott, as well.
A member of PSU's Progressive Student Union, Lew Church, was the only U.S. student, in December, 2004, to attend and present a Coke Boycott workshop, at UK No Sweat's annual conference held at the University of London Union, by Russell Square.
A coaltion of activist students at Portland State are also seeking to make connections between globalization and militarization by urging the University to evict the "Viking" National Guard/ROTC from campus (Vikings are the school's sports team), and for Portland State to join the WRC, the Workers Rights Consortium, in Washington, D.C., to help monitor multinational corporations and Third World labor practices. A Progressive Student Union organizer, in June, 2005, hand delivered copies of a model resolution to the five Portland City Council members, for the City to enact an ethical purchasing law, like that passed recently by Los Angeles, and currently under consideraton by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
At the June 22, 2005, meeting with activist students, PSU president Bernstine stated that 'we can't have outsiders telling the University what to do, our school has a unique character.' It wasn't clear if Bernstine meant 'outsiders' to mean the WRC, SINALTRAINAL, or even, PSU activist students themselves. While Bernstine is the first African-American public four-year university president in the history of Oregon, in his seven years as university president, Bernstine has made a number of decisions questions by activist students at the school.
For a recent university commencement, Bernstine named that year's Miss America, Katie Harmon (then a PSU undergrad) as commencement speaker. Harmon (an opera singer) later performed at Vice President Dick Cheney's $400,000 GOP fundraiser near the Portland airport, for the 2004 election.
Bernstine was asked by students at the meeting on June 22 whether he would declare the proposal that Portland State's campus security get tasers -- to be null and void, and off the table. Bernstine said that it was still an option, although interim VP-Finance, Cathy Dyck (who will serve until November, 2005), has stated that the school's campus security personnel will not get tasers as long as she is Vice President.
Bernstine has also proposed that PSU build a $30,000,000 new gym, despite the school already having one gym and there having been many cutbacks to academics, library services, etc., due to Oregon's serious underfunding of both higher education and K-12 education. Oregon is ranked in the bottom three states consistently nationwide (with Alaska and Washington state, reportedly) for high hunger rates, high unemployment rates, and underfunding of public schools. In a recent year, the Portland School District had teachers "volunteer" for two weeks, due to a budget shortfall.
According to the school's daily paper, The Vanguard, out of about 3,000 colleges nationally, at one point PSU had the 4th highest dropout rate, and is rated by US News & World Report as a 'fourth-tier' school. According to an article in the statewide daily paper, The Oregonian, Portland State, again out of about 3,000 colleges in the country, is ranked among the 'bottom 30 schools' (according to the National Center for Women and Law) for discrimination against women athletes under Title IX.
In 2004, activist students and teachers at PSU were able to halt the Administration's proposal to house an 'academic department of Homeland Security' at the school, under sponsorship of former Bush Administration official Tom Ridge, and Chief Kroeker, former Portland police chief, in connection with the former chair of the PSU Political Science Department, Ron Tammen (who had taught in Washington, D.C. at the War College and for the CIA).
Activist students at PSU are planning to hold a conference on globalization at the school in October, 2005, but will seek Administration action in the interim to kick 'killer Coke' off campus. When Juan Carlos Galvis talked at Portland State, Juan discussed his organizing experience for SINALTRAINAL, the Coke union in Colombia, noting that a couple months prior to his PSU talk, paramilitaries had shot at his jeep, but his guards returned fire, and he was uninjured. Two months after Juan talked at PSU, however, Juan's brother-in-law was killed by the paramilitaries.


phone: phone: 503-471-7798
address: address: Lew Church, PSU Progressive Student Union, 1802 SW 10th, Portland, OR 97201

You Go. 05.Jul.2005 11:17


It might seem overwhelming sometimes, but all this work is worth the effort. I urge you to continue this important fight. In pursuing this further, you are educating people about the issue, and the connection between what people buy and what happens in the world. Bernstine's insistence that people can just "vote with their pocket book" obscures the fact that many people are uneducated on this issue, even as the killer corporation itself spends billions on co-opting their minds into buying bloody coke.

I had no idea how bloody coca cola was until Juan Carlos Galvis spoke at PSU. I also did not know about all the other brand names owned by Coke. (Who knew Odwalla was a coke product!) I was inspired at that event, and took the time to learn more. I can now say I am completely coke free. I will not buy another tainted soda, and no one I care about will either without my doing everything I can to stop them.

The things we buy can KILL. Capitalism kills. Coke kills. Thanks for letting us know how we can change the world by changing our consumption habits.

Odwalla?! Damnit' 05.Jul.2005 12:40


Damnit', when did Odwalla get bought out by coke? Not gonna' touch the stuff again. It used to be a small company in a small town in California.

I am still pissed that Coca-cola lobbied the government to greatly restrict pasteurized food effectively killing Genesis Juice Co-op distribution. Oh, perhaps thats when Coca-cola bought Odwalla?

Odwalla continues to hoodwink progressives 05.Jul.2005 14:23


Odwalla continues to hoodwink prgressives by not marking anywhere on their product that they are 100% owned by Coke - all profits go to Coke. They play on the old name of the company as a small progressive company and will not add "Odwalla a coca cola product" to their product bottles.

Odwalla IS Coke, Coke is Evil, Odwalla markets in most of the upscale markets (wild oats, new seasons, and at outdoor stores like REI) hit them where it counts and refuse to purchase Odwalla and Coke

Owalla has been Coca-Cola since December 2001 - They suck.

Thanks For Making PSU Better 05.Jul.2005 16:56

part-time student

Really glad to hear so many useful things are happening at PSU... I am of two minds about taking classes there. On the one hand there are some amazing teachers and inspiring students, on the other the institution seems so behind the curve about these issues of ethics. Keep up the good work.

noooooo! 05.Jul.2005 20:57

another former odwalla drinker

Not Odwalla! I LOVE that stuff, it's an occasional treat! damn.

How to Help 06.Jul.2005 00:00


Does anyone know an email address to PSU president Dan Bernstine. Maybe it would help for people to email him their thoughts on his choices as president. If there is another way to help it would be also nice to hear. Stop buying Coke products is no problem.

If people are serious 06.Jul.2005 00:07

fun facts

Major Products of The Coca-Cola Company in North America

Top Five Brands
Coca-Cola classic
diet Coke
caffeine free diet Coke

Barq's root beer and other flavors
caffeine free Coca-Cola classic
Cherry Coke
Chippewa Water
diet Cherry Coke
diet Coke with lemon
diet Sprite
diet Vanilla Coke
Hi-C fruit drinks
Mad River
Manzana Mia
Mello Yello
Minute Maid juices and juice drinks
Minute Maid Lemonade and Fruit Punch
Minute Maid and diet Minute Maid soft drinks
Pibb X-tra
Planet Java
POWERade and POWERade light
Red Flash
Vanilla Coke

Major Products of The Coca-Cola Company and Its Subsidiaries in Europe

Top Five Brands
diet Coke / Coke light

caffeine free Coca-Cola
caffeine free Coke light
caffeine free diet Coke
Canada Dry
Cherry Coke
Coca-Cola Light with Lemon
diet Fanta
diet Coke with Lemon
diet Sprite
Dr Pepper and diet Dr Pepper
Fanta light
Five Alive
Lilt and diet Lilt
Minute Maid juices and juice drinks
Sprite light

Products of Other Companies Distributed in North America

Canada Dry
Dr Pepper
Dr Pepper - Red Fusion
diet Dr Pepper
Cool From Nestea
diet Nestea
Simply Orange

Products of Other Companies Distributed in Europe

Nestea Splash
Red Devil

natural alternatives to coke 06.Jul.2005 20:34

GMO corn syrup?

Bernstine doesn't belong at PSU. I think University of Idaho is looking for a Prez.

Columbia Gorge Juice is obviously local, but organic too! their juice is about the same price as Odwalla.

There are also several natural soda companies like: Blue Sky, Knudsons and Santa Cruz to name a couple!

PSU's current president is a business man. He'll sell his own mother to make a few cents, so it didn't surprise me to learn about the Higher One fiasco. He made a closed door deal with an out of state credit card company to outsource the dispersment of student financial aid. I'm sure Higher One stuffed his pockets full of dirty money, these kinds of deals don't happen otherwise.

He sold thousands of names/SSN/addresses/etc... to an unknown/unproven entity.

Progressive students need to take over the public office that is the presidency of this here University.


the PSU Prez's email 07.Jul.2005 23:26


the Prez's email: