Swarthmore College Removes Coca-Cola Products From Campus
College Calls on Company to Allow Investigation of Violence Allegations
For Immediate Release
November 28, 2006
SWARTHMORE, Pa., Nov. 28 -- Swarthmore College will cease purchasing Coca-Cola products by the end of the year and again
calls on the company to permit an independent investigation into allegations of complicity in anti-union violence in
Colombia and water use in India. The action, prompted by the urgings of student leaders, follows a series of letters to
Coca-Cola by the Swarthmore administration expressing concern about its alleged human rights abuses.
"We plan to dialogue with Coca-Cola in an effort to continue to pressure them to reform their labor and environmental
rights practices," says Ruth Schultz '09, a history major from Minneapolis, Minn., and a leader in the campus "Kick
Coke" campaign. "In the coming months, we will establish a set of criteria which must be met in order for the College to
consider future purchasing from Coca-Cola."
Last semester, Swarthmore removed Coca-Cola products served at the College's snack bar and two coffee bars, including
Coke, Diet Coke, and a variety of other soft drinks, juices, and water. This new action concerns the "fountain" Coke
products served through company-supplied dispensers at the College's snack bar and Sharples Dining Hall.
Through their "Kick Coke" campaign, Swarthmore student activists have used petitions, a letter-writing campaign, and a
Student Council resolution to urge the College administration to remove Coca-Cola products and to pressure the company
to act on the abuse allegations.
"Many students see this action as a stand against human rights abuses and as a means of encouraging Coke to make
significant and much-needed changes in its practices," says fellow student "Kick Coke" activist Zoe Bridges-Curry '09.
"Because the campaign centers around the institution's contract with Coke, and is not limited to the purchasing choices
of individuals, the College's action sends a very strong message to the Coca-Cola Company. As a consumer of Coke,
Swarthmore can use its influence as a prestigious and socially responsible institution to help effect positive change in
the corporation's practices."
"The Coca Cola Corporation has played a major leadership role in the realm of international corporate responsibility and
can surely also lead the way by taking even more definitive socially responsible steps,"says Swarthmore College Vice
President Maurice Eldridge '61. "We hope to continue dialogue with Coke to establish guidelines that would lead to our
being able to welcome the products back to campus."
Swarthmore joins several other colleges and universities that have taken action related to Coca-Cola and the alleged
abuses. Among those institutions are the University of Michigan and New York University.
The action related to Coca-Cola is one of several recent student initiatives that exemplify Swarthmore's mission to
combine academic rigor with social responsibility. In 2004, the College's Committee on Investor Responsibility, which
includes student members, successfully petitioned two Fortune 500 companies to broaden their equal opportunity policies
to bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. That development mirrored the committee's successful action in
2003 with Lockheed Martin, which agreed to add sexual orientation to its non-discrimination policies after the College
filed a shareholder resolution - the first in the country solely initiated by a college or university since the
anti-apartheid movement in the 1980s.
Also in 2004, students formed what is now the Genocide Intervention Network in an effort to help stop the humanitarian
disaster in Darfur. In what was hailed as a victory for free speech, two students that semester won a lawsuit against
Diebold, Inc., to halt the company's efforts to shut down any website that hosted or linked to documents detailing
problems with the company's electronic voting machines.
In addition, students last year launched an Internet-based radio program on the war in Iraq - War News Radio - which has
grown into an acclaimed weekly program syndicated to a growing number of radio stations around the country.
Located near Philadelphia, Swarthmore is a highly selective liberal arts college whose mission combines academic rigor
with social responsibility. Swarthmore, with an enrollment of 1,450, is consistently ranked among the top liberal arts
colleges in the country.