Papa John's, Simmons College blame each other for lost scholarships

After miscommunication, Papa John’s donates $30,000 to Simmons College

Sarah Ladd

Louisville Courier Journal

Published 11:15 AM EDT Sep 17, 2019

After some back and forth, Papa John’s and Simmons College appear to have resolved their “breakdown in communication” over scholarship money. 

In a letter from Papa John’s to Simmons College obtained Monday, Papa John’s chief people officer, Marvin Boakye, wrote that Papa John’s is giving 15 students $2,000 scholarships. 

Before that, both parties said the other was responsible for scholarship money totaling $20,000 being pulled from 10 students. The latest letter reports $30,000 to 15 students.  

Background: Papa John’s, Simmons College blame each other for pulling scholarships to 10 students

Papa John’s founder John Schnatter, who was ousted from the company, has spent the past year battling claims that he’s a racist whose insensitive remarks cast the global pizza chain into crisis.

In early September, he donated $1 million to Simmons, a historically black college.  

More: John Schnatter’s $1 million gift to Simmons College raises differing opinions

The Rev. Kevin Cosby, president of Simmons, said in a statement Friday he was informed Wednesday by an executive at Papa John’s that “scholarships promised to our students were being revoked” because of Schnatter’s donation.

An email Sept. 3 from Simmons’ director of development, Von Purdy, to Natonya Harbison, Papa John’s director of supplier diversity, says the school chose not to accept the scholarships. 

Monday’s letter seems to have resolved the dispute, and Boakye wrote that Papa John’s wishes both the scholarship recipients and Simmons College “continued success.” 

Reach breaking news reporter Sarah Ladd at sladd@courier-journal.com. Follow her on Twitter at @ladd_sarah. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: courier-journal.com/subscribe.


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