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To the editor:
On March 10th, a press conference was held at Thomson House to release to the media the results of a student referendum in which a majority of undergraduates voiced their disapproval of McGill's proposed entry into an exclusivity agreement with Coca-Cola Bottling Ltd. Graduate students had been strongly against the proposed exclusivity agreement for nearly two years. The so-called 'Cold Beverage Agreement' has saturated the campus media all semester. It is likely that more has been written on this story than any other in the last decade, if not in the history of McGill.
The election campaign and the results thereof were heavily reported in national newspapers and on many nationally broadcast TV programs. Why is it that the Reporter failed to even mention the referendum results in the March 23 issue? Even though the students of McGill clearly oppose the proposed agreement with Coke, the administration has refused to say that they won't sign the deal anyway. I think many ex-McGill students and large financial donors may be upset if McGill administrators were to even consider blatantly ignoring the wishes of students as they are now doing. As a newspaper you are meant to report the news. Please tell me your lack of reporting was a gross oversight rather than something more calculated and sinister.
Damian G. Wheeler
PhD Student, Physiology
No, there was nothing calculated or sinister about our omission regarding the referendum results. Given that The Reporter is a fortnightly, if a news item has received widespread coverage in campus media and the greater media, we don't necessarily repeat it unless we have something new to add. As you point out, the administration, at least initially, made no response to the results.
That, however, has changed. When asked by president of the Science Undergraduate Society, Andrew Kovacs, at last week's Management Forum, if he would respect the students' vote, Vice-Principal (Academic) Luc Vinet said that he would.
In a subsequent interview with The Reporter, Vice-Principal (Administration and Finance) Morty Yalovsky precised that "we will not pursue it [the CBA] if students aren't interested." If at a later date, however, a group of students want to have an agreement, Yalovsky said the University could help them broker it."