Recent donation stirs up controversy over bookstore Jelly Belly machine

The SPSCC bookstore recently installed a Jelly Belly dispensary machine they received for free from their distributor, Halfon, two months ago. However, many LGBTQ organizations have taken issue with Herman Rowland Sr., the chair of the board of the Jelly Belly Company, for his support of an anti-transgender initiative in California.

Rowland recently donated $5,000 to Privacy for All Students, a group that is fighting for the repeal of the “School Success and Opportunity Act”, which was signed into law in California on Jan. 1, 2014. The act allows transgender students to fully participate in school activities and use facilities in accordance to their own gender identity, not what is stated on records. Privacy for All is still in the process of collecting signatures, but the voting on the repeal of the act may be on the ballot for the November elections.

Halfon provided the Jelly Belly machine brought into the campus bookstore.

Halfon provided the Jelly Belly machine brought into the campus bookstore.

The machine was free from the distributor and brought in to increase foot traffic in the store, said Bryce Winkelman, director of auxiliary services. The bookstore was unaware of Rowland’s political views and the decision to install the machine was “going off of projected profit,” said Winkelman.

Though the machine was free, the bookstore still has to buy the jelly beans. According to Winkelman, though some revenue probably goes to Jelly Belly, the bookstore buys their jelly beans and candy straight from Halfon.

“It’s a common issue that companies who supply have differing viewpoints,” said Winkelman, “But if there is a student interest group on campus that has an opinion, we are definitely willing to listen.”

Privacy for All Students needs 505,000 signatures in order to be on the ballot for November. However, the National Center for Lesbian Rights has started a campaign to, according to the change.org petition, “tell Jelly Belly Chair Herman Rowland Sr. that all students should be treated equally and have the same opportunities to be successful in school.”

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