Is keeping Papa John’s in Allendale worth it?

Brady McAtamney

By now, you’ve probably heard that ‘Papa’ John Schnatter, the founder of Papa John’s Pizza, has stepped down from his position as CEO as the company after it was reported that he used a racial slur and referenced derogatory comments against African Americans.

Since this news broke, multiple universities and major businesses have cut ties with the chain, including University of Louisville, University of Kentucky and Major League Baseball while Oregon State University suspended their partnership.

While Grand Valley State University may not be ‘best friends’ with the company and put Schnatter’s face on tickets or billboards alongside their own brand, there is a Papa John’s store on-campus in Allendale. Now would be the perfect time to change that.

No, having their business with our school may not be directly promoting or enabling racism, but there have certainly been ties severed for lighter offenses. If the man himself had to leave the company that he turned into a multimillion dollar chain he created, then things are probably not going well. If the school were to issue a brief statement referencing the ‘recent events’ going on within the company followed by a statement that Papa will no longer be producing pizzas for Lakers.

Not only is the business’ latest PR situation not good, but their pizza isn’t either. Don’t get me wrong – I’ll eat their food. It could definitely be worse. However, why would we continue to allow a chain with ties to racism with mediocre pizza at GVSU when we could get a Michigan staple in Little Caesars, home of the best prices in pizza and home of the famous Hot ‘n’ Ready? Why not Hungry Howies, home of the best pizza overall with an incredible flavored crust and a new classic in stuffed crust?

Seriously, there are numerous better options. Domino’s anybody? How about Cottage Inn? Why not let Peppino’s tighten their grasp on the college-town market and allow students to use meals and debit dollars at an on-campus location?

Frankly, it should be completely obvious at this point. End the collaboration with the troubled company – this isn’t Papa John’s first media snafu, after all – and bring in something else that does not have loads of baggage. Let the Lakers eat good pizza.

This could be your last hurrah or maybe even your lasting legacy, President Haas (okay, not really. Please don’t leave us). Let’s make it happen.