Starbucks has recently been surrounded by controversy after the arrest of two black men in a Philadelphia Starbucks. According to CNN, the manager called the police after the two men were sitting in the store without ordering. The men were arrested for trespassing, and they told police that they were waiting for someone else to arrive, and the person did arrive as they were being arrested.
After national outcry on social media, Starbucks decided to release a statement on their Facebook that they would close down all company-owned stores for a racial-bias education training on May 29. According to the Starbucks website, they will be closing down over 8,000 stores across the United States for the training.
“On May 29, we will close our company-owned stores in the U.S. to conduct racial-bias training in order to address implicit bias, promote conscious inclusion, and prevent discrimination so everyone feels safe and welcome at Starbucks,” Starbucks’ Facebook post said. “The training will impact nearly 175,000 partners (employees) across the country, and will become core to the orientation process for new partners. These experts will hold us accountable by monitoring and reviewing the effectiveness of the measures we undertake. We’re ashamed and recognize that racial bias is a problem we need to–and will–address.”
Sam Houston State University has two Starbucks locations on campus—located in the Newton Gresham Library and South Paw. Now, people are wondering if the on-campus Starbucks stores will also be closing on May 29 to participate in the racial-bias education training.
“Our on-site locations are not planning on closing down that day,” Aramark Marketing Manager Logan Hickle said. “I am not sure if any of our food services will be open that day because of the campus schedule. Starbucks corporate will send the training information down to us and we may implement it into our training, but nothing has been set as of yet.”
The SHSU Starbucks locations are not company-owned locations, so they do not fall under the same requirements as many of the other Starbucks across the nation.
“I think if they did close it would be a poor decision from a business standpoint,” senior Criminal Justice major Hope Baker said. “I haven’t ever seen an issue with the way they treat customers, regardless of race, so I don’t think they have a reason for additional training.”
Starbucks has stated on its website that the curriculum they are developing is being created with guidance from several national and local experts confronting racial bias. The training will also be available to other companies and will be sent out to all locations regardless of ownership.
While some students are understanding of SHSU’s choice to not implement the training, other students would like to see the training take place.
“It would be a great way to implement the training on campus, only because the situation could happen anywhere,” junior English major Zavier Fields said. “Just because it happened in a company-owned location does not mean it won’t happen on campus. People are allowed to publicly enter and exit the university. The difference would be the students are the workers and how would they help if the don’t know how to handle the situation. It would just make a statement for other races that they are supported, and they are free to come in and purchase Starbucks like everyone else.”