February 7th, 2013 | University

PepsiCo sponsorship of alumni conference draws heated concerns

Sonia Sotomayor LAW '79 will speak at an April alumni conference that has drawn criticism for its partnership with PepsiCo.
Sonia Sotomayor LAW '79 will speak at an April alumni conference that has drawn criticism for its partnership with PepsiCo. Photo by White House.

Yale alumni are blowing their tops over Yale’s relationship with beverage and snack company PepsiCo.

PepsiCo — whose CEO is a Yale trustee, whose New Haven lab employs Yalies and whose dollars are funding a graduate fellowship at the School of Medicine — is raising eyebrows among alumni over its sponsorship of a conference for Yale’s female graduates, according to The New York Times. Judging by the Times report, Yale alumnae are more up-in-arms over the partnership than they are interested in one of the conference’s speakers, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor LAW ’79. Several alumni have complained that a corporate partnership constitutes a tacit endorsement by Yale of Pepsi’s tooth-decaying, diabetes-inducing line of sugary drinks.

“It’s disgusting,” Michele Simon SPH ’90 told the Times. “What is this nation’s leading educational institution doing participating with this threat to public health?”

But Yale’s administration has consistently defended the University’s partnership with PepsiCo, saying that the beverage and snack company’s financial support lowers costs for conference attendees.

The conference will be held in Washington, D.C., on April 19 and 20.

Correction: 2.7.13

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Sotomayor would deliver the keynote address.