Ball State bucks trend, keeps Schnatter's name on school institute
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Ball State University has decided to keep Papa John's founder John Schnatter’s name on a free enterprise institute at the school, charting a different path than the University of Kentucky, the University of Louisville and Purdue University in response to Schnatter’s admitted use of racial language last month.
Schnatter’s alma mater will not change the name of the John H. Schnatter Institute for Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise, Ball State board of trustees chairman Rick Hall said in a public letter on Friday.
Hall defended Schnatter’s character in the letter, accepting Schnatter’s explanation of the context in which he used the N-word during a private business conference call in May.
In our experience with John, he has never expressed racist views. He has demonstrated himself to be an individual who is very appreciative of his fortunate situation and cares deeply about creating an environment in which all enterprising individuals have the opportunity to succeed. With such perspective, John has generously shared his blessings through his contributions to universities and other philanthropic activities.
Schnatter, through his family foundation, pledged $2.16 million to Ball State to establish the entrepreneurship institute, according to a university spokeswoman. She could not say when the institute was established or how much Schnatter has paid toward the $2.16 million pledge.
UK and U of L decided to remove Schnatter’s name from their institutes last month, moves to which Schnatter did not object.
Purdue University said Friday that it also would remove Schnatter's name from the John H. Schnatter Center for Economic Research, which will now be called the Purdue University Research Center in Economics.
In a statement, Purdue said its board believes the removal of Schnatter's name "is necessary to avoid distraction from the center’s work, counterproductive division on the campus, and any inference of any deviation from the university’s often stated stance on tolerance and racial relations."
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