Purdue to strip economics research center of Papa John’s founder’s name

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — On the same day Ball State announced it would stick with Papa John’s founder John Schnatter, Purdue University decided to strip his name away from a research center.

In a statement released Friday, the Purdue University Board of Trustees said the “John H. Schnatter Center for Economic Research” would revert to the “Purdue Economic Research Center in Economics.” The building was named for Schnatter in April 2018.

“Purdue will offer to return the funds associated with the naming,” the board said in a statement. The trustees made the move 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.”

Schnatter faces a national controversy over reports that he used a racial slur during a conference call. He stepped down as company chairman and resigned as a member of the University of Louisville Board of Trustees. Louisville removed his name from the football stadium and a campus building.

Earlier Friday, Ball State’s board said it would keep Schnatter’s name on a building on its Muncie campus.

Here’s Purdue’s full statement:

The Purdue Board of Trustees has decided that the name of the university’s economics center, named in April 2018 the John H. Schnatter Center for Economic Research at Purdue, should revert to the Purdue University Research Center in Economics. Purdue will offer to return the funds associated with the naming.

The board believes this action 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.