Ball State University Board of Trustees have approved a motion that will remove the name of Papa John’s founder John Schnatter from a building on campus. Schnatter, a Ball State alum, resigned from his role as company chairman after it was reported that he used a racial slur during a conference call earlier this year. The University of Louisville has already removed his name from the football stadium and a business school, and now Ball State is following suit.
His name will now be removed from the John H. Schnatter Institute for Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise.
“While we sincerely acknowledge Mr. Schnatter’s generosity in providing the 2016 grant funding, it is proposed that the name John H. Schnatter be removed from the John H. Schnatter Institute for Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise as well as the related Distinguished Professorship appointment; and the Institute be referred to as the Ball State University Institute for Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise,” the resolution from the university read. “Accordingly, the funding from the original grant will be returned to Mr. Schnatter’s Family Foundation.”
Along with removing his name, Ball State has decided to return $3.25 million funding in a grant from Schnatter and the Charles Koch Foundation.
Ball State issued a lengthy statement on their decision, via FOX 59.
“The Board of Trustees strongly condemns racism, both implicit and explicit. Our condemnation extends to include John Schnatter’s comments that are the subject of controversy and have no place in our society,” the statement read. “The Board had hoped that the situation would provide a learning opportunity regarding race relations and critical thinking. We respect and appreciate that John desired to engage with our students and campus community and otherwise continue to be supportive of Ball State. From the Board’s perspective, our University was presented with a chance to have a healthy and open conversation that could lead to better understanding of issues facing our society.”
The university continued saying that their decision was to show a full commitment to showing racism and combating the issues facing our society.
“Notwithstanding the Board’s strong belief in the power of conversation, President Mearns has advised us that such discussions with John and other good faith gestures would not be well received or effective, as long as his name remains on the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise. Unfortunately, the response from some on campus and the current political climate in our nation makes the meaningful progress we desire very challenging,” the university continued. “At the same time, the Board does not wish to risk that others will have a false impression that Ball State is not fully committed to a welcoming and inclusive campus for all.
“Accordingly, the Board voted today to remove John Schnatter’s name from the Institute. While the office suite signage in one of our buildings has changed, the troubling issues facing our nation still exist. The Board encourages the Ball State community to engage in constructive dialogue as we collectively work towards solutions.”