At its Thursday general assembly meeting, the Grand Valley State University (GVSU) Student Senate failed to take a stand in support of human rights with regard to the treatment of workers picking tomatoes sold to Taco Bell. After passing a resolution back in November of 2004 called for the removal of Taco Bell from GVSU’s campus pending an investigation into the issue by way of letters submitted to the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) and Yum Brands (the parent company of Taco Bell), the Student Senate has determined that it is unable to take a stand on the issue.
At the core of their reasoning is an amendment to the resolution that required the CIW and Yum Brands to provide information about the current situation in Immokalee, Florida. According to an interpretation of the resolution by the Student Senate President John Osborne, the November 2004 resolution, which clearly expressed a desire to remove Taco Bell from campus, only called for the removal of Taco Bell if Yum Brands failed to respond to the request for more information. After receiving information from both the CIW and Yum Brands, the Student Senate concluded that “they could not determine the validity of the information” that it received and that there was, consequently, “no issue” to vote on.
Based on the email from Student Senate President John Osborne, “the official stand of the Senate will be that it does realize that there is a problem in Immokalee, Florida and that there are issues of human rights violations”–yet the Senate is chose not to take an official stance on the issue.