Law Professor Forces Students to Lobby for Government Ban on Soda

Heather Ginsberg

3/8/2013 11:30:00 AM - Heather Ginsberg

The ban on large sugary drinks may not be restricted to the New York City area any more. A law professor at George Washington University is now requiring his students lobby for a government ban on sugary beverages, or else they won’t pass.

John Banzhaf, the professor, will require his pupils to lobby state and local governments to ban these sodas. In a press release put out by the professor himself, he stated the objective as “Undergrads Required to Lobby for Obama Policy”. The press released continued by stating, “some 200 undergrads will be asked to contact legislators in their home cities, counties, or states asking them to adopt legislation similar to that already adopted in New York City…banning restaurants, delis, movie theaters and many other businesses from selling high-sugar drinks in cups or containers larger than 16 ounces”.

In case some students didn’t want to lobby for the exact policy that is in place in New York City, Professor Banzhaf has given these alternatives for substitute activities:

1. Ban the sale of sugary soft drinks entirely.

2. Ban the sale of sugary soft drinks to children.

3. Put a special tax on sugary soft drinks; e.g., to reduce consumption and/or to fund counterads.

4. Don’t exempt sugary soft drinks from the ordinary sales tax.

5. Prohibit the sale of sugary soft drinks in vending machines.

6. Mandate per-oz. pricing of sugary soft drinks in venues like fast food restaurants and movie theaters (i.e., a 32 oz. serving must cost at least twice as much as a 16 oz. serving)

7. Limit the maximum size for sugary soft drinks in venues like fast food restaurants and movie theaters (e.g., a single serving can be no more than 16 oz.).

But as you can see, even these “alternative” options do not accommodate for students who do not agree with the professor’s agenda. Basically anyone who does not believe it is the government’s duty to get involved in this area should either drop the class or will most likely fail. This professor; however, is known for being one who loves the attention of the media. He has repeatedly sued fast food companies for making people fat. He even sued the Catholic University of America over the university’s policy to implement single-sex dormitories.

Is this just another publicity stunt for the professor? How is this type of class allowed to exist without some sort of balance?