Members of the University community might be unable to “tap the Rockies” if certain students have their way.
The Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action and Integration and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary is urging students to boycott the Coors Beer Co. It said Coors donated at least $100,000 in an effort to get California voters to approve Proposition 54 next month.
Proposition 54 would bar the state from collecting any data from citizens regarding race, ethnicity, color or national origin.
“We want to stop any more funding from going to Ward Connerly for his campaign in Michigan against affirmative action,” LSA senior and BAMN member Kate Stenvig said.
Connerly is a University of California regent, active in fighting affirmative action policies for several years now. He is leading both the drive for Proposition 54 and a referendum on Michigan’s ballot next year which would ban the use of race preferences.
But Coors spokeswoman Amy Valdez affirmed Coors’ stance toward civil rights.
“We support the principles of equal employment, opportunity and affirmative action,” Valdez said. “We don’t support any organizations’ efforts to attack affirmative action or civil rights.”
“He’s not even on our board of directors,” Valdez said. “It doesn’t make sense to boycott Coors Brewing Company over something that Joseph Coors is doing or not doing.”
But Stenvig said Coors has numerous violations over the years in regard to violating civil rights and unfair labor practices. The company donated money to the Center for Individual Rights – the conservative watchdog group that sued the University seven years over the use of race in its admissions policies. It has also been involved in aiding Adarand, a Colorado construction company involved in a decades-long lawsuit, suing the government. Adarand claims it was unfairly passed over for a government contract because it was not controlled by “socially and economically disadvantaged businesses.”
Joseph Coors Sr., who died last March, was a longtime conservative who helped establish the National Heritage Foundation – a conservative thinktank – in 1972. He also used his massive fortune to financially support Ronald Reagan’s various political campaigns. As a regent at the University of Colorado in the late 1960s, he opposed student activism against the Vietnam War and the creation of several minority-centered student groups.
The company recently attracted the attention of Western Michigan University, where the student assembly called for a boycott of the company last year, citing unfair treatment of workers after Coors locked them out when the union rejected a contract deal.
“This disdain for human life and welfare, demands a response from the community. We cannot simply cross to the other side of the road and walk on, while … the Coors Company quietly (strangles) these Kalamazoo workers,” the resolution states.
“We won at the Supreme Court and we intend to defend our victories,” Stenvig said, referring to the June decisions which said the University in certain ways could use race as a factor in admissions. She added that BAMN soon plans to take its arguments to several student groups, liquor stores and the Greek system, although it has not yet recruited any supporters.
Joe Kraim, manager of Campus Corner Party Store on State Street, said he has not heard anything about the planned boycott, although he plans on talking with the Coors area distributor the next time he comes in. But Kraim said a decision on whether to take Coors off its shelf relies on his customers’ feelings.
“I have to go with my customers,” he said. “If the people want it, I will get it.”