Joe Van Gogh Coffee announced Friday that it would end all ties to Duke University and shut down its coffee shop on campus. A Duke vice president was offended by the music he heard there (a rap song featuring the N-word) and complained, leading to the firing of two baristas. Since then, Duke and the vice president have been widely criticized.
A statement from Robbie Roberts, owner of Joe Van Gogh Coffee, said in part, "Effective immediately, I have decided to cut my company’s ties with Duke University. I believe it’s the right thing to do to preserve Joe Van Gogh’s brand independence without conditions. I have extended jobs to our entire team at our Duke on-campus store, either at one of our off-campus locations or at our production offices. And, I have reached out to our two baristas who were provided severance so that they may either re-join Joe Van Gogh or secure employment elsewhere if they like."