October 27, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Concordia Students Occupy Secret Meeting Between Corporate Executives and School Administration
Demand student consultation and consent for beverage company exclusivity contract
Montreal – At 2:30 p.m. today students from Concordia University began a peaceful occupation of a meeting between representatives from Nestle Inc. and Concordia Administration. Stemming from an earlier rally, over 70 students attempted to march into the meeting to voice their concerns over a lack of student consultation and transparency in the negotiation of a new corporate contract for student services. Students were locked out, and began a sit-in that is currently ongoing.
“Universities are supposed to exist to serve students, these negotiations leave the student voice out and invite corporate voices in,” said Alex Matak, a Concordia student currently sitting in. “We are here to make sure administration cannot ignore the student voice.”
The meeting between Nestle and the school administration relates to ongoing negotiations between beverage corporations and the school to replace an expiring exclusivity contract with Pepsi.
“What started as a campaign to kick bottled water off campus is growing into a fight to reclaim student control and bring a more accountable and transparent process to school administration,” Laura Beach, an organizer of today’s action explains. “We don’t just want a ban on bottled water, we want an open dialogue with the student body for all decisions that affect their campus.”
Students and representatives with campus organizations are also pointing out that these types of negotiations are dangerous to Concordia’s reputation as a national leader on environmental issues.
“Concordia likes to promote itself as a leader in sustainability,” said Pawel Porowski, a representative of Sustainable Concordia. “These sorts of exclusive contracts, done without student consultation threaten that reputation, locking the University into long term contracts to provide unsustainable products.”
Students are holding a public assembly build collective strategy to continue the campaign tomorrow evening.
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