LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – The historically black Simmons College of Kentucky accepted a $1 million donation Wednesday from former Papa John's CEO John Schnatter.
The donation comes more than a year after Schnatter’s name was removed from Cardinal Stadium, and months after he departed the company he founded in the aftermath of using a racial slur during a conference call.
At the height of the controversy, Simmons College President Kevin Cosby tweeted that Schnatter’s comments were “diverting attention away from what true racism really is. Racism is the total monopolization of America’s wealth, real estate and power by one race to the exclusion of others.”
On Wednesday, Cosby said the focus of Schnatter’s donation should be on the college’s students and faculty.
“We have a crisis in black America,” Cosby said. “It’s going to take education to fix it. And it’s going to take resources to fund historically black colleges and universities who have been under resourced.”
Board of trustees members said there was no discussion about any possible backlash in accepting Schnatter’s donation.
“Actions are much better than words,” Simmons College Board of Trustees Chairman Dr. Mark Lynn said. “We saw the transcript of what was said. Honestly, had to read it twice to figure out there was a real issue there. So should it have been said, should it have not been said? I’m not going to go there. But in speaking with John, we’ve had a lot of talks with John, he’s done a great job.”
Schnatter’s donation was described as the beginning of a long-term partnership with Simmons College, but details were not provided on what that partnership entails or what Schnatter’s role will be with the college.