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Final Thoughts: The Coalition of Students for Coke

(Originally written June 1st, 2007)

Yesterday, CDAB voted and chose to keep coke on campus. The leadership of the Coalition of Students for Coke is very pleased, yet we must recognize two things.

First, by no means do we now belittle or discredit the “Killer Coke” movement or the “Killer Cokers” themselves. Those individuals have worked hard for what they believe is right. I give my respect to any individual who has heard the allegations, looked into the issue, and beyond any reason of doubt, formed a conclusion.

Many “Killer Cokers” say that our group has shown malevolence to them. Whether any acts did occur and whether those individuals were actually fellow activists can be debated, however our leadership sincerely apologizes if anyone in the “Killer Coke” movement feels wronged. Considering many of the emails and messages our leadership has received and “Killer Coke” actions taken at the rally attested to by “Killer Cokers” themselves, we could point the finger as well, yet we want to say that we hope the leadership of the “Killer Cokers” and any of their other activists were not involved and we harbor no resentment. All we want is beneficial and educated debate.

We formed our group just a couple weeks ago not in spite to the “Killer Cokers” or merely to justify keeping coke because it tastes good (I, as a proud Texan, give praise to the glory that is Dr. Pepper). We felt two things were at stake:

*After talking to our friends and housemates, it seemed that the majority “Killer Cokers” claimed to have could definitely be questioned. Our concern rested in making sure the students and their true views were expressed.

*After analyzing the allegations, we realized that a need existed to form an organized response due to the lack of knowledge on campus surrounding the allegations and the weakness of “Killer Coke’s” claims. Radical action to remove all coke products should not be taken if there doesn’t exist a preponderance of evidence and apparent and affirmed facts against coke.

Both sides should be proud! For the first time, a university had two-sided debate surrounding the “Killer Coke” accusations. This happening demonstrates the passion and acumen of University of Chicago students as they researched the issue themselves and formed differing conclusions instead of merely falling victim to unproductive, one-sided tyranny.

Our second point acknowledges the belief that the “Killer Cokers” will continue in their efforts. We hope they refine their objective to be more applicable to how the student body truly feels. We also recognize that the number game between both sides can easily be endless. For this reason, the coalition agrees with the recommendation of the Deputy Dean of Students in the University for Housing, Dining, and Transportation; the need to narrow the gap between word and deed is important. If the students, given full disclosure of the facts surrounding the allegations, take a stand and don’t drink coke to the extent that there is evident economic significance, then the question of contract and the removal of coke would surely have credibility. The Coalition of Students for Coke would respect this action as it ensures a tyranny of the minority has not occurred.

Finally, I just want to say personally that our victory yesterday did not serve as the most enjoyable moment of my efforts. No. This moment took place about thirty minutes later while sitting in the “Reg” when CDAB member Nathana O’Brien, who had voted to kick coke off campus, approached me. We discussed the issue for about fifteen minutes; it was the most pleasing exchange. Her decision, she said, represented the 8 votes to kick coke off campus at the IHC meeting. Our conversation was what I wanted to transpire this entire time: students with various opinions coming together and having prudent discussion. I, along with the coalition, wholeheartedly hope─as activists across the university take up issues─that this type of beneficial discourse not only continues but testifies to the University of Chicago’s commitment to the “life of the mind”.

-Joseph Dozier
The Coalition of Students for Coke

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