Archive for Sunday, September 20, 1998

COMMERCIALIZED KU

September 20, 1998

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To the editor:

I am glad that someone at Kansas University, other than the students, has noticed and feels somewhat threatened by the increased commercialization of campus. This is seen first in KU's contract with Coca-Cola and second in the ``adoption'' of the Smartcard.

The Coke contract is merely symbolic of the increase in the commercialization of society that has finally made its way to the top of the hill. It isn't even the matter of convenience of access to other brands of soda that I find disheartening, rather the loss of jobs and lack of student input on the matter that troubles. This decision wasn't even discussed with student senate or with the concessions employees that lost their jobs.

The best example of commercialization on campus is the new Smartcard that has replaced the old student ID. They promised a simple alternative to separate bus passes, ID's, phone cards, ATM cards and copy cards. They gave us an ID that doesn't work in the copiers, doesn't work on the buses, but manages to work in all of the new Commerce Bank ATMs that have sprung up on campus. In fact, it seems to me that the real beneficiaries of this new change were KU and Commerce -- the bank gets an office in the union and ATMs, while KU gets to charge them rent for the space they use.

The students are left with the same conveniences they had years ago, except now they can buy Coke as fast and as often as they want with that new Smartcard -- truly convenient for Coke, KU and Commerce.

Garth Atchison

715 N.Y.

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