Ball State Defends Donor Under Fire for Slur

August 6, 2018

A handful of colleges have distanced themselves from John Schnatter, the founder of Papa John’s Pizza, who was recently criticized for using the N-word. Ball State University, Schnatter’s alma mater, is an exception.

The university’s board defended Schnatter and announced that it would continue to support the John H. Schnatter Institute for Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise, with the current name, the Star Press reports.

"Higher education plays a unique role in the support of free speech and the exchange of ideas that lead to better understanding. In that pursuit, it does not mandate perfection," Rick Hall, chairman of the board of trustees, wrote in a statement Friday. "The language used by John was insensitive and painful to others, making a review of context appropriate."

Hall explained the context of the remarks.

"They were made in a private meeting with consultants, from which he was seeking advice as to how to communicate in a way that would be less offensive to others. In the course of the conversation, he recited his understanding of another’s use of the ‘N word,’" Hall wrote. "He did so not in a derogatory manner seeking to demean any individuals or groups; rather it was used as an example of improper conduct."

The University of Kentucky, Purdue University, Morehouse University and the University of Louisville have all cut their ties to Schnatter.

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