State College school board rejects Papa John’s pizza bid over ex-CEO’s racist comments | TribLIVE.com
Pennsylvania

State College school board rejects Papa John’s pizza bid over ex-CEO’s racist comments

1655167_web1_AP_17355686715453
AP

Members of the State College Area School District Board of Directors rejected a controversial bid to purchase Papa John’s delivered pizza for the current school year.

The board voted 6 to 3 to reject the bid, with Board President Amber Concepcion, Vice President Amy Bader and board members Dan Duffy, Laurel Zydney, Gretchen Brandt and Lori Bedell opposed and Jim Leous, Scott Fozard and David Hutchinson in favor.

Papa John’s gained national attention in 2018 when Forbes reported the company’s ex-CEO and board chairman John Schnatter used the N-word in a conference call following remarks in late 2017 criticizing NFL national anthem protests for negatively impacting shareholders. Schnatter has since resigned and sold most of his company shares, though he remains the largest shareholder with 19% stake in the company.

Last year, the board voted pulled its bid for Papa John’s to provide delivered pizza to elementary and middle school students and went with Domino’s instead. It made the decision based on an internal recommendation that Schnatter’s racist remarks violated the school climate policy.

This year, in keeping with “restorative justice practices,” district administration recommended Papa John’s delivered pizza again. It found the local Papa John’s franchise had the lowest cost per delivered pizza, and that both the corporation and local franchisee had taken steps to support diversity and equity.

A coalition of district parents and community members opposed the latest recommendation on the grounds that Schnatter still owns shares in the company and that, regardless of local efforts, support of the company shows support of bigotry.

Community members, including two State High students, spoke during public comment and the board discussed the bid for almost an hour. Before the vote, Bajco CEO Nadeem Bajwa and Debbie Riggins, Bajco director of operations who oversees the two State College Papa John’s franchises, talked about the company’s “commitment to promoting social equity and building community relationships,” according to a SCASD release.

Bajwa said, regardless of the board’s decision about the contract, his company would continue its local efforts in community building.

The board members who supported the bid said they viewed its approval as “an opportunity for students to see restorative justice practices being carried out,” including acknowledging harm, listening and reconciliation, said a district release.

Categories: News | Pennsylvania
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.