Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Caffeine controversy at BYU

Excerpts of two stories regarding efforts to bring caffeined soda to BYU campus.

1. BYU students pushing for caffeinated sodas by Peggy Fletcher Stack, Religion News Service
2. Caffeine protest stopped on BYU's Brigham Square, Daily Universe by Crystal Myler.

Caffeine-craving students at Brigham Young University are pushing the Mormon-owned school to change its stance on cola drinks.

The move was triggered by Aug. 30 statements from BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins in which she said that the school doesn't serve or sell caffeinated drinks because there has not "been a demand for it."

The ban on caffeinated sodas is "not a university or church decision," Jenkins told The Salt Lake Tribune. BYU's dining services does conduct "online surveys, focus groups and data analysis" to determine what items to offer on campus, BYU's The Universe student newspaper reported, but "has not asked about caffeinated soft drinks."

Skyler Thiot, a BYU senior from Dallas, hoped to show there is plenty of demand. Thiot created a Facebook page, BYU for Caffeine. The Universe conducted its own, unscientific online poll, which favored caffeine buyers by 10-to-1. A separate petition at change.org asking for caffeinated drinks on the Provo campus has garnered nearly 1,000 signatures.

Thiot later removed the Facebook page because, he said, the issue was becoming "too contentious."

-- 2 --

BYU students staging a protest against the no-caffeine policy on campus were asked to leave Brigham Square by police officers.

The demonstration was advertised on Facebook, and students planned to hand out 200 cans of caffeinated soda at Brigham Square between 11:50 a.m. and noon on Friday.

According to Seth Howard, who spearheaded the operation, the group handed out 50 cans in three minutes before police officers arrived. The students were informed that they had not gone through the proper channels to hold the event and were asked to take the cans of soda and sign off campus.