Letters to the editor

An open letter to USC and UCLA

The crosstown rivalry between our two campuses, particularly in the weeks leading up to the UCLA-USC football game, is a great tradition in college sports.  But even as we root against each other on the field, UCLA and USC stand united in our common belief that this weekend’s game should be a safe, respectful and fun experience for everyone.

UCLA and USC are both world-renowned research universities, equally proud to call Los Angeles home. We ask that Bruins and Trojans alike make a commitment to displaying the very best of the UCLA and USC spirit.  Please remember that while you alone are responsible for your actions, you can set a positive example for others.  Sportsmanship is every bit as important on the field as off.  Respecting those around you demonstrates respect for yourself and for your university.

People all across Los Angeles and the nation will be watching the big game.  We trust all of you to demonstrate the best of what it means to be a Bruin or a Trojan.

So have a great time Saturday.  Go Bruins!  And fight on, Trojans!

Janina Montero

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, UCLA

Michael Jackson

Vice President for Student Affairs, USC

USC should ban the sale of soda on campus

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, half of you who are reading this article right now have already consumed, or will consume today, two sugary drinks or sodas.

But don’t take comfort in the fact that you are not alone in your sugary drink consumption. With weight gain, Type 2 diabetes and other health risks on the rise, we should fear that so many of us consume so much soda on a daily basis. It is because of this that I am arguing that it is time for USC to take action on behalf of the health of its students, faculty and staff and ban the sale of soda on its campuses.

According to a September 2012 report by the Organization for Healthy Americans, nearly one quarter of the adult population in California is considered obese today and projections suggest that by 2030, obesity rates will nearly double, to 46.6 percent. The CDC has linked these rising obesity rates — along with rising rates of Type 2 diabetes and heart attacks — to soda.

USC should ban the sale of soda on its campuses because of soda’s link to numerous preventable health risks. Not only should USC be a leader in health awareness and disease prevention, but it should also be invested in helping guide its students, faculty and staff to make healthy decisions that will benefit their health now and in the future.

However, some might argue that such a ban will result in a loss of revenue from soda sales on USC’s campuses and also in some unhappy students, faculty and staff who might view the university administration as an overprotective nanny. But in the end, the benefits of this policy ultimately outweigh the costs. If USC is providing health coverage for its 20,000-plus employees  and providing the option of health care to its 38,000-plus students, it clearly has a vested interest in also looking out for their health. According to the CDC, in 2008, medical costs associated with obesity were estimated at $147 billion, $1,429 higher on a per person basis. This is a burden that organizations such as USC should work to prevent.

Many others have already recognized these overwhelming benefits of a ban on soda: from Boston’s government buildings to New York City. As a premier university and the largest private employer in the city of Los Angeles, USC has the potential to join these locations with a ban on soda and “fight on” at the forefront of developing a healthier city, state, nation and world.

Valor Lee

Senior, communication 

3 replies
  1. George
    George says:

    Valor, you are tossing aside the arguments from the other end by stating simply that the “benefits outweigh the costs.” You make the assumption that USC has the right to do this in the first place. A soda ban is absolutely ridiculous, and not just for the revenue loss. As problematic as obesity is in this country, no one’s diet should be dictated to them, thus removing freedom of choice, nor should soda suppliers lose a potential market due to some arbitrary restrictions – what happened to capitalism?

    Any ban like this infringes on personal liberty both economically and physically – neither the government nor USC should be allowed to dictate something like this. I agree there is a problem and don’t drink soda myself, but the answer is in education, education to kill the demand of people to drink this stuff in excess, not the supply.

    Overall the notion of “you shouldn’t do this because it’s not good for you” sounds a little Orwellian, don’t you think?

  2. George
    George says:

    Look, I don’t think UCLA is holding up their end of the bargain on “sportsmanship” and respect for the rivalry by threatening to hold our band off the field during halftime if our drum major stabs their field (which he does everywhere). It’s rather petty. If this is carried out:
    1. UCLA will look like complete hypocrites – where will the line be drawn then? No fans allowed from the other schools, lest they say things not agreed with by the home fans *cough* UCLA fans *cough*
    2. I hope the USC band plays during UCLA’s halftime show anyway.

  3. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Go away, Valor. You’re annoying me. And get your facts straight—reprehensible though Bloomberg’s actions may be, they are far from the ban of sale of soda. I’ll continue to enjoy soda when I feel like it, and I find it unlikely that such a benign habit will result in anything terrible happening to me. There are far less healthy things I could be doing if I felt like it.

    Banning the sale of soda is a sham—it benefits no one, even those who legitimately fight for such causes. And nice attempt at a feint by delegitimizing economic incentives for soda to be sold; they’re not relevant here, and your comm classes should have taught you how to frame arguments effectively. Although economics is often useful as a tool, it is not always apt.

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