The VERY Latest!... Students at the University of Chicago made the highly-coveted list of Mother Jones magazine's 10th annual round-up of the top 10 activist campuses for their success in "Booting the Bell" from the U of C campus.
Coming in at #7, U of C activists, "scored one of the first victories of the national 'Boot the Bell' campaign. Because Taco Bell's tomato suppliers are said to exploit migrant farmworkers, Chicago students lobbied the university to sever its ties with the chain. On Halloween, 60 students, many dressed as tomatoes, marched on administration offices. In November, U of C's food-services manager declined to renew the Taco Bell contract," (Mother Jones, Sept./Oct. 2003). Great work, U of C, you are an inspiration to us all!
** NEWS FLASH ** San Diego City College latest school to 'Boot the Bell'... Thanks to some dogged organizing by the local MEChA chapter in an uphill battle against the administration and the Taco Bell corporation, San Diego City College has joined 15 other schools in declaring their campus a 'Fair Food' zone! Stay tuned to this site for more as students on campuses across the country are gearing up for what should be a busy semester of Booting the Bell!
BOOT THE BELL CAMPAIGN: All the latest news from the campus front of the Taco Bell boycott (for more details on the campaign and other Student/Farmworker Alliance actions, click here to visit the SFA website)...
"On behalf of the students and youth of America, we are here to express our solidarity with the farmworkers who pick your tomatoes... Until Taco Bell takes responsibility for working conditions in Immokalee, we will take our message to the streets to ensure that it is anything but business as usual for Taco Bell! If you have not heard our statement through our solidarity hunger strike, then you WILL hear it through our actions!" (Excerpt from student/youth statement read in front of Taco Bell headquaters, Feb. 28. Click here to read complete statement.)
If Taco Bell executives didn't hear this statement directly, the message has no doubt resounded loud and clear through the more than 100 solidarity actions that took place during the hunger strike and the 14 universities and high schools that have Booted Taco Bell from their campus over the past year.
Check out some of what has been going on in one of the fastest growing movements on college and high school campuses today:
SOLIDARITY ACTIONS: During the week of the hunger strike, over 70 people marched from the Liberty Bell to a Taco Bell in Philadelphia, and over 150 people shut down a Taco Bell in downtown San Francisco for more than an hour, in addition to 98 other actions. Click here for a complete list of solidarity actions.
BELLS BOOTED: Last semester, the University of San Francisco administration announced on the USF website that "a campus movement to break the universities tie with Taco Bell resulted in the removal of the chain," while the University of Chicago administration agreed with students that "Taco Bell was, and is, a 'bad business decision'" and formed a committee of students and faculty to "discuss and plan the possible removal and replacement of the Taco Bell on campus." This semester, three new universities have joined the growing list of campuses to Boot the Bell: Samford University, Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) and California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA) Click here for a complete list of schools that have Booted the Bell.
After a series of protests, actions and meetings with administration, students at Samford University returned this semester to find that Taco Bell was removed from their campus. Administration claims that the franchise was removed because it was not profitable... hmmm, I wonder if the loss of profits had anything to do with the bad aftertaste of sweatshop labor?
In Fall 2002, three Middle Tennessee State students joined workers for Alternative Thanksgiving Break in Immokalee where they learned first hand about Taco Bell's sweatshops by working in the fields alongside CIW members. They returned to school determined to boot Taco Bell from their campus. After meeting with the Aramark representative on their campus, administration quickly agreed that Taco Bell should be removed from their campus -- come Fall 2003, MTSU will no longer serve sweatshop tacos!
A year and a half ago, Cal State LA temporarily closed down the Taco Bell franchise on their campus to renovate the cafeteria and rebuild a larger Taco Bell. After a series of protests, petitions, and meetings with administration led by students and faculty, administration agreed that it was in the university's best interest not to rebuild the Taco Bell out of respect for the large Latino population on campus and the growing sentiment among Latino youth to boycott Taco Bell... si se puede!!!
FAIR FOOD FRIDAYS: Fair Food Fridays has taken off with students and youth leading regular protests all over the country, including New York, University of Notre Dame, Milwaukee, University of Madison, University of Florida, University of Memphis, University of Texas in Austin, Tuscon, San Diego and Orange County, CA to name just a few.
And now, the question running through the movement is, "If the workers can give up 2 weeks of work, drive 3000 miles across the country, camp out in corporate hell, in the pouring rain, and refuse to eat for 10 days to demand basic respect, then what can we as young people do?" With over 40 universities currently organizing to Boot the Bell from their campuses and Student Labor Action Week coming up March 31-April 4, Taco Bell will soon get a taste of what is to come...
Our hats go off to the students at USF, Cal Poly Pomona, the University of Chicago, San Diego State, the University of Memphis, the University of Texas at Austin, and students at college campuses across the country where the Boot the Bell campaign is gaining momentum and putting human rights on the menu! For more information on this incredibly successful movement, check out the Student/Farmworker Alliance website, the organization that is spearheading the Boot the Bell campaign. Or email the SFA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also click here for a list of all the universities and high schools across the country that have decided that Taco Bell has no place on their campus until it becomes "not just fast, but FAIR, food"!