The Tomato

A coffee controversy has erupted into a full-scale conflict on campus. Photo: Jaclyn McRae-Sadik.

Facebook controversy leads to real life, caffeine-fueled encounters

In early October, the University of Ottawa’s Facebook page found itself at the centre of a controversy over the support of non-fair trade Nescafé coffee. But that was only the beginning.

While students’ ire was stoked on Facebook, it quickly transitioned to the real world.

“I don’t know why that’s surprising,” said Sam Adams, a third-year political science student. “Any time students complain online we address it in the real world too, every time!”

After decrying the university’s lack of support for fair trade coffee, students took their disagreements outside. Across campus, spontaneous melees erupted as students hurled beverage cups at one another. There were two sides—those in favour of fair trade only, and those against.

“Let’s be honest, there’s no other way to solve this problem,” said Tony Critch, a third-year arts student who politely disagrees with enforcing only fair trade coffee on campus. “I just need to throw caffeinated drinks at anyone who disagrees with me.”

The fight started near the small UCU Tim Hortons and quickly spread across campus. A cadre of fighters broke off to battle with alcoholic drinks at 1848. However, after seeing the Jays game was on, they ultimately decided to drink the beverages instead.

Near Tabaret lawn, students whipped fair trade coffee cups at their opponents, before running over to collect the debris and deposit it in the nearest recycling bin.

“I know it’s a heated battle, but we can’t descend into barbarism and forget to recycle,” said Arthur Meyers, a first-year common law student. “We’re not animals.”

Amos Matthews, one of the fair trade supporters, managed to get the drop on his opponents. However, as he looked around for a cup to throw he came to a sad realization that none of them contained ethically righteous coffee.

As he struggled with this philosophical crisis, a cup of cold Folgers coffee splattered across his face.

“That was rough, but my integrity was hurt more than anything,” he said. “I just need to shower right now.”

The beverage fights are also taking a toll on  campus businesses like the Tim Hortons.

“It’s turning into a crisis,” said Tom Hirton, a store manager. “If coffee supplies drop any lower I don’t know what we’ll do.”

University president Jacques Frémont said he’s utterly bewildered by the conflict.

“Why do they care so much about coffee? Don’t they have student elections and exams to worry about?” He asked.

“Not important? This is literally the most important issue that drifted onto my Twitter feed in the past five hours!” said Adams in response to Frémont’s comments.

After composing himself, Frémont eventually conceded that he would be prepared to listen to any demands made by students.

“I mean, at least they’re not protesting tuition hikes or something crazy like that.”

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