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Updated 10:00 AM April 11, 2005




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Hearing to bring Coca-Cola reps,
U-M community before dispute review board

U-M's Dispute Review Board (DRB) will hold a public hearing April 25 to consider allegations that Coca-Cola and its affiliates have violated the University's Vendor Code of Conduct by engaging in practices in Colombia and India that result in unfair or harmful labor practices and have a negative impact on the environment.

The hearing will be 3:30-6 p.m. in the Anderson Rooms of the Michigan Union. Representatives of Coca-Cola and members of the University community, including those who have submitted complaints, have been invited to address the board.

The complaints against Coca-Cola are the first to be considered by the board since it was created in 2004 as a recommendation of a Task Force on Purchasing Ethics and Policies. The Michigan Student Assembly and Students Organized for Labor and Economic Equality submitted formal complaints to the board.

The University currently has 12 direct and indirect contracts with Coca-Cola and related companies, and spent nearly $1.3 million on Coca-Cola products in FY2004. Activists concerned about the company's business practices do not want the University to renew its contracts with Coca-Cola when the first of those contracts expires in June.

The DRB is charged with considering the allegations against Coca-Cola and making a recommendation to the executive vice president and chief financial officer regarding the University's future business relationships with the company.

At the April 25 public hearing, student activists and representatives of Coca-Cola will be invited to participate in a 20-minute presentation supporting material previously submitted to the board. After the presentations, the board will have 45 minutes to question both parties. For an additional 45 minutes following the question-and-answer period, pre-registered members of the University community will have an opportunity to address the board. Each speaker gets a maximum of five minutes.

The DRB was formed to consider complaints about practices of University vendors and suppliers. The seven-member board is chaired by Frank Stafford, professor of economics, and includes two students, two staff members and two additional faculty members.

University community members must apply in advance to speak during the open comment period, and indicate the topic they will address. After the hearing, members of the University community can submit their thoughts in writing within two weeks, on electronic files no longer than 10 pages. To register for the comment period or to submit written comments, e-mail

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