Thirsty for a say

Campus leaders should consult the voice of students before accepting the terms of a new beverage contract.

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With the beverage contract with Coca-Cola Co. set to expire on Aug. 3, campus negotiators need to perform a balancing act between practicing good business and representing students.

There are two viable options on the table: negotiators - representatives of the four-unit campus beverage contract consortium who make up the major stakeholders in the contract, and two student officials - can choose to extend the contract with Coca-Cola for up to two years or open the contract up to other bidders.

Regardless of their decision, the negotiators must use this time before the contract's expiration to gather information on competitors' prices and possible contracts, as well as to get appropriate input from the student body and the ASUC.

The negotiations must also consider the revenue at stake - both from the beverage company and the students' purchasing power.

Though the current contract offers members of the consortium various amounts of funding through volume incentives, sales of Coca-Cola have been steadily decreasing on campus since the 2005-06 academic year.

We do not think that prolonging the contract for two years in the hopes that the economy will be better is necessarily the best course of action.

Rising fees will undoubtedly leave students with less disposable income, which will ultimately lead to even lower sales and make the campus a less attractive business partner, ultimately resulting in a less than ideal contract.

The negotiators must be willing to consult the student body because, above all else, the students are the consumers.

Without adequately addressing the concerns of students, it will be impossible for the campus to create a contract that is mutually beneficial for the campus and for the beverage company.

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