Union Becomes First Seminary to Boycott Coca-Cola

The New York-based Union Theological Seminary became the country's first seminary to ban the sale of Coca-Cola products on its campus, joining a growing number of educational institutions around the world that have decried the beverage-giant's violation of "basic human rights and environmental saftey" measures.

On April 12, UTS President Joseph C. Hough, Jr. made an official announcement of the boycott to the seminary board.

“Upon the recommendation of the Seminary’s Institutional and Community Affairs Committee, I have approved a boycott of Coca-Cola products on the Union Theological Seminary campus,” said President Hough.

Hough made the decision after a consultation with the school's Institutional and Community Affairs Committee, according to Joann Anand, the Director of Communications at UTS.

“This recommendation came with considerable evidence that firms associated with Coca-Cola have been engaged in actions that violate basic standards for human rights and environmental safety in countries outside the United States,” Hough continued.

According to the school press release, the issue was brought to the president's attention by the student leaders of the independent, ecumenical seminary founded in 1836. The boycott will serve as a "symbolic call" for the Coca-Cola Company and its affiliates to discontinue unfair labor practices in Latin America and other practices that weaken basic human rights and harm the environment in South Asia.

The board has already started taking the initiative by removing and replacing all Coca-Cola vending machines from the campus, restricting the administrative staff members from purchasing Coca-Cola products for informal meals and receptions, and agreeing with Showstoppers - the Seminary’s in-house caterer - to stop offering Coca-Cola products.

"A number of other schools are considering the boycott," Anand told the Christian Post.

Union Theological Seminary, founded in 1836, is an independent, ecumenical graduate school of theology with the mission to educate men and women for ministries in the Christian faith and service in contemporary society.