Make your home page

Butler University closes its Papa John’s location on campus

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The fallout continues for Papa John’s.

Butler University has decided to distance itself from the pizza franchise and close its location inside its student union. Papa John’s has occupied a spot in Atherton Union at 704 W. Hampton Drive for the better part of 10 years, according to university officials. 

In-house slices are being served in place of Papa John’s. It’s a temporary fix until Butler finds another tenant. 

“They’re not reflective of what our institution believes in, and it doesn’t create a safe space for our students. So, they need to be removed from campus,” said Student Government Association President Sam Varie. 

Varie and Alex Kassan, the association’s vice president of diversity and inclusion, went to university officials after learning of allegations that Papa John’s creator John Schnatter used a racial slur. They demanded the university close its on campus location. University officials complied. 

Kassan said, “As a woman of color, as a black woman, it made me extremely uncomfortable, just kind of gross inside. Immediately my thoughts went to how to enact change on our campus.”

Schnatter reportedly used the racial slur while on a conference call. In July, he resigned as chairman quickly after a report about the slur was published, but subsequently he called the decision to resign a “mistake.” 

Varie said, “Regardless of him stepping down, the brand is still there. He was representing the brand when he was speaking.” 

Kassan added, “Any comfort with saying that word at all is a problem. It’s a problem that I as a person take superduper seriously and we as a student government take superduper seriously.”

Not everyone on campus agreed. 

“I just wish that they’d keep what he did separate from his business,” said junior Mansi Pandya. 

Junior Ben Kessler said, “It doesn’t affect me. It doesn’t affect the pizza. I’ll take the pizza whether it’s racist or not.” 

Butler indicated it will continue using the space that Papa John’s vacated for its in-house pizza until a new tenant is found.