No Coca-Cola products for Trinity students during Sochi Winter Games
AP Photo Pat Wellenbach
TRINITY COLLEGE WILL be a Coca-Cola and Procter & Gamble-free zone during the Winter Games, in protest against the brands’ decisions to sponsor the event.
Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) will also hold a series of protests against the leading multinational corporations that have taken the decision to sponsor the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
They will hold their first protest on Wednesday 5 February, outside the Russian Embassy, before the opening ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics.
They intend on holding a second protest, but the location has not yet been decided upon.
Leanna Byrne, Communications Officer with TCDSU, said that there had been a long-term ban on Coca Cola at the university, but that motion had been overturned.
They have now decided to bring back the ban for the duration of the Winter Olympics, which will last for two weeks.
The addition of a ban on P&G came following “a lot of debate as to whether or not we’re targeting Coca-Cola just because they are Coca-Cola and we have banned them previously”, said Byrne.
P&G are also a main sponsor of the Winter Games.
Byrne said that she believes the ban “sends out a strong message”.
“We’ve been mandated by the students to do this,” she said. “I think it’s very important that we stand by our minority groups. People might think it is not a student issue, but it it certainly is for a lot of the people in college.”
She added: “There seems to be a lot of positive reaction from LGBT societies and organisations throughout the country.”
While Byrne said that the ban “is not going to have a huge economic impact on Coca-Cola and P&G”, and they won’t be able to ban the sale of products from college vending machines, she said it would have a financial impact on the Student Union shops.
“We’re willing to take that financial hit as a mark of respect for those two weeks,” she said.
Another long-term ban on Coca-Cola looks unlikely, however. There is a long-term ban on Nestlé products in TCD.
The decision to ban the sale of these products was made at Students’ Union Council in response to Russia’s ongoing violations of Human Rights Law and persecution of LGBTQ people, it said.
TCDSU have written to Coca Cola concerning their new European advertising campaign, #ReasonsToBelieve.
The brand omitted a gay marriage scene from its Irish TV adverts as part of its latest Europe-wide campaign. The scene was kept in other countries’ ads.
The SU described this as “an open insult to the LGBTQ community in Ireland and further adds to Coca-Cola’s complete disregard for LGBTQ people on an international level”.
They are asking Coca Cola to repeal the removal of this scene and broadcast the ad in Ireland as it exists in the UK, the Netherlands and Norway.
In the letter, LGBTQ Rights Officer for TCDSU, Stephen Hatton said:
Your company had an unparalleled opportunity to denounce the vulgar and inhumane Anti-Gay Laws of Russia on a worldwide stage, an action which, if made, would have undoubtedly sparked global awareness and positive change for the LGBTQ community in Russia and beyond.