NEW YORK – New York University wants to stop selling Coca-Cola products on campus in protest of the soft drink company's labor policies in Colombia.
Coca-Cola is, in fact, facing increasing pressure from colleges across the country for the same issue. For years, the soft-drink manufacturer and its Colombian bottling companies have been harangued by accusations they worked with paramilitary groups to kill and intimidate union leaders.
Click in the video box to the right for a complete report by FOX News' Todd Connor.
National movements like the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke claim that there are "life and death struggles" going on in Colombian Coca-Cola plants.
Coca-Cola has denied any connections to the violence, saying judicial inquiries in Colombia and a federal judge in Miami all failed to link the company to any illegal activity and that its own internal investigation found no evidence to support the accusations.
"The allegations against our business in Colombia are false. We have been in Colombia for 70 years and have been an exemplary member of the business community," reads a Nov. 11 statement from the company.
"Our company has been a valuable member of the Colombian community for more than 70 years and our bottling partners respect the rights of employees, including those who choose third-party representation or union membership. In fact, our bottling partners enjoy extensive, normal relations with 12 separate unions in Colombia and currently have collective bargaining agreements in place with all of them covering wages, benefits and working conditions."
But NYU contends that Coca-Cola is not doing enough to address the accusations.
"The main feeling that we have on campus is that Coca-Cola isn't acting quickly enough in terms of these allegations," said NYU senator, Arthur Tannenbaum, who also serves as the senate's public affairs committee chairman.
NYU's senate voted to send a message to the company by removing all of its products from campus beginning Dec. 8. NYU says it will reverse its decision if Coca-Cola agrees to an independent investigation into the company's role, if there is one, in the alleged union busting.
"We are not being international police, we are being consumers. We consume Coca-Cola's product, it's on our campus and as such we are allowed to say whether or not we are allowed to do business with a company that may or may not be egregiously violating the basic human rights of its workers," said David Hancock of NYU's Campaign to Kick Coke.
But some observers say Coke is effectively defending its position.
"It has this big Web site that they clearly spent a lot of money on to convince consumers that this is not a really a problem. It is clearly making an effort to sort of communicate this is not the issue that some of the protesters say it is," said Leigh Gallagher, senior editor of Smart Money Magazine.
But this is not halting the momentum of anti-Coke activists. NYU is the largest private university to join the fray, while schools like the University of Michigan are planning to following NYU's lead. About a dozen other schools have taken similar steps to banning the product from campus.