BREAKING: Big City Coffee opts out of contract, leaving Boise State campus

*This article was updated on Oct. 29, 2020 at 2:37 p.m with clarification in the headline to state that Big City Coffee has opted out of their contract with Boise State and left campus.

*This article was updated on Oct 28, 2020 at 9:42 p.m. with new information regarding Big City Coffee’s decision to be released from contract per the Boise State University Facebook post.

Big City Coffee has been removed as a vendor from Boise State campus, according to Boise State Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Leslie Webb.

The announcement was made in an Inclusive Excellence Student Council (IESC) meeting, an organization within the Associated Students of Boise State (ASBSU) on Oct. 27.

In a Facebook post made by Boise State, the university confirmed that Big City Coffee requested to be let out of its contract with Boise State.

The post stated: “As a popular local vendor in the community, Big City Coffee was invited onto our campus. The business opened this fall. Our students hold a wide range of opinions about this business. After some students began speaking out against the owner’s personal beliefs, we explained that we could not violate the First Amendment Rights of anyone on campus. Following that, the owner requested to be let out of the contract. We agreed to the owner’s request.”

Big City Coffee was brought onto Boise State campus at the beginning of fall semester to replace the Starbucks located in Albertsons Library. Members of the IESC and ASBSU have vocalized their dislike for the company since September.

Since its introduction, the coffee shop has received significant backlash from students and community members regarding the owner’s support and display of Thin Blue Line flags, imagery that has historically been used as a counterprotest to the Black Lives Matter movement.

However, the owner of Big City Coffee has stated that her support for law enforcement stems from her husband, a Boise Police officer who was shot five times and lost his leg after an encounter in 2016 with a recently released prison inmate.

Additionally, students had also voiced concerns over an Instagram post made by the owner of Big City Coffee that features a screenshot of a student’s personal Snapchat post in which the student expressed frustration about Big City Coffee’s stance on police, specifically in regards to the Black Indigneous People of Color (BIPOC) community. 

In an email sent to ASBSU members and Boise State President Marlene Tromp, ASBSU Vice President Cambree Kanala said: “This post is extremely harmful, using a students personal social media post to diminish and devalue student voice, in order to boast their brand and their contract with Boise State. Not only is this post harmful to students, especially our BIPOC students, it is extremely inappropriate and disparaging. Fee paying students should not be at the liberty for a social media smear by a company contracted with the University.”

Photo by Drew Marshall

This Post Has 42 Comments

  1. Riccardo Palagi

    Cancel Culture is a cancer. Boise State my alma mater, is now infected. #DefundBigEd

  2. Dennis

    i guess you must agree with people or you get trashed… what happened to free enterprise.. if i don’t like something about a business — I don’t spend money with them. Sorry to see them leave

    1. Leeann

      I think it’s ok to state ypur opinion and this is pathetic of the state or anyone else to shame you stand your ground we will come buy ypur coffee I wad just there from Spokane I came to see your shop it’s wonderful!!!

  3. Cynthia

    WOW my own home state is bowing to SPOILED ENTITLED BRATS!?!? Really !?!?!? This is a woman trying to honor her husband and the university sides with children! SHAME ON THEM!!

  4. Jon Schoenfelder

    Good riddance. I graduated 2011 and I’m glad to see the students stand up to a pathetic business like Big City Coffee.

  5. Bridget

    Just a racist trying to make excuses for her racism. She’s been Blue Lives matter since before this incident. Bad cops need to be held responsible for their actions. Cops are not above the law because they are cops and Black Lives matter does not say that other lives don’t matter. Black lives are more at risk now

  6. Jackie Gravois

    Backing the Blue is a 1st Amendment right and Boise Stste should stand up for our Constitution and TEACH their students about civics. I thought Boise State was better than this. The students did not have to support the coffee shop with their patronage. That is the power of consumer politics. Teach these kids so.ething don’t just bow to their wishes….people have been doing that their whole lives and this is where we stand.

  7. Holly Cook

    You might want to check with the Big City Coffee owners about BSU’s statement (claims that they asked to be let out of the contract) before you take it as fact.

  8. Bill

    No longer will I donate funds to the University. The conduct of the ASB is shameful.

  9. Lauren

    This is honestly disgusting, I’m extremely disappointed in Boise State. She has a right to her beliefs just like anyone else. This woman has been through so much in her life and she supports the police because of the abuse she went through as a kid, and just because she supports police does NOT MEAN SHE IS A WHITE SUPREMACIST. She is a wonderful person who fights for others and this is what she gets back because of it. Have some respect for others please.

  10. Former BSU Supporter

    I will be requesting a refund of my lifetime alumni membership dues and I won’t be buying season tickets for any sports nor donating in any way. This is a genuinely sad and unjust development.

  11. BL

    I don’t like seeing the phrase, “has been removed”. This implies that they did something wrong. The reality is that they were driven out by intolerance and ignorance. BSU rightfully won’t censor student voices, but it also didn’t step up to defend the owner’s right to tell their story and be protected.

  12. Ron Alexander

    Cancel culture nazis imposing an unrealistic standard of cookie cutter thinking on the student body at BSU. The leadership at BSU is spineless and incompetent. This is intolerable.

  13. Pamela Rand

    This story is one blatant falsehood after another. This small business owner grew up in a home where domestic abuse was rampant; it was the police who rescued her from this situation– not some “woke” group looking to marginalize people whose ideas differ from their own. Her fiance is a police officer who was shot five times. She has every right, and every reason, to Back the Blue.
    But there’s one “blue” I will no longer back with my donations: BSU.

  14. John

    The university should be embarrassed for letting a student government run the school. BSU will lose a lot of fans and financial support for allowing this to happen.

  15. Disappointed Alumni

    I am so disappointed with BSU Administrators’ response – or lack of support for Big City Coffee. I am an alumni that will not support my university again. A student govt. group should not be the voice of BSU.

  16. Disgusted Alumn

    Sadly Boise State is being removed from my home. Thanks to the administration caving into spoiled brats and the cancel culture narrative being pushed. No more alumni donations, no more football season tickets, and my children have opted to no longer attend Boise State as well.

  17. Sayre A Peterson


  18. Lynette codr

    Who ya gonna call when you’re victimized? BLM supporters🤣🤣 Grow some critical thinking skills all of you BLM lemmings.

  19. Nancy

    Wow Who left the spoiled brats in charge? NO more games for me! And even think about calling the police, For ANYTHING! Remember you are voluntarily revoking your right.

  20. chris

    I am just curious, can you support the black lives matter and the police at the same time? Are they mutually exclusive? I have a blue flag on my truck does that make me racist. None of this makes sense. I know plenty of good police officers who are not racists. It is very simplistic to judge someone whether they support the police or black lives matter. Why is tolerance in our society absent? Do we have to pick a side? I guess if she had a sticker that said black lives matter she would still be serving coffee. This is very sad for all of us.

    1. Jim R

      Chris. Yes, you can support both. You can even do business with people with whom you don’t agree. Or chose not to do business with those same people. You can also say that people who have police and firefighters in their family are entitled to support the police and firefighters. You can also believe that people of color should not be unjustly treated by the police or society. Unfortunately, recent actions have shown that you can’t do that at BSU.

  21. J

    BSU go woke go broke! Get that liberal garbage out of there! The cancel culture people are the trashiest, most racist, P.O.S in the world. Liberals get out of my state you are not wanted or welcomed here.

  22. Wade F

    Wait, Big City Coffee decided to leave the campus because some students complained about their public political stance and BSU administration is to be blamed? Hmmm? Anyone wonder what their financial situation is due to the very limited number of students and staff who are physically on campus this semester available to buy coffee? Isn’t this the same company that immediately pulled out of the Boise airport just after launching a site there a few years back? Seems like a trend is developing

  23. RW

    Snowflake and spoiled brats that want to abridge the first amendment are in control. Congrats BSU admin and staff you have successfully create a fascist culture of students who cannot tolerant a different point of view. You have created a generation of simple minded, self indulgent, and non-thinking youth ruled by emotion. The cancel culture is alive and well at BSU. That is not what the university used to represent.

  24. d

    i hope that all of you realize that boise state did not force big city to leave campus… that is not what happened here. take the time to educate yourself before making baseless threats and comments about the university and its students.

    1. Pamela Rand

      Yeah, that IS in fact what happened. Read the minutes of the so-called “Inclusive Excellence” meeting. There was no discussion with the coffee shop owner, and Ms. Banks’ mind was made up before ever speaking to Big City Coffee about the owner’s support of police– NOT on the BSU campus. That NEVER happened.– at her main location on Grove. What would any sane business owner do after she has invested tens of thousands of dollars into equipment, hired 24 female student employees, and is trying to operate during a pandemic?? Then she’s told her satellite shop will face harsh repercussions for having a single sticker– which she was, as already stated, never allowed to discuss with the faculty or get a consensus from the greater student body– at her off campus location.
      No thin blue line flags were flown at either of her business sites. The Idaho Statesman is notorious for misstating information to highlight its agenda and sensationalize events that should be non issues.

  25. pat leddy

    having lived in santa cruz county most of my life before moving here 30 years ago I watched santa cruz go from a clean fun surf town to a trash hole once ucsc was built the liberal students and faculty ruined santa cruz. oh and where did the head of boise state come from….oh yea ucsc

  26. Bill M.

    Please read the minutes of the various IESC minutes. I think it draws a clear picture of the drive to force Big City Coffee off of the BSU campus by a small group.

    Read the whole thing for yourself.

    Leslie, is there any foreseeable future that you plan to loop in student government and
    IESC in the discussion? Is there a planned time to communicate to us regarding Big City?
    ○ Leslie – I sent an email a little bit ago that let the group on the email chain know
    that Big City is no longer a vendor on our campus. That is my update for y’all.
    ○ Cambree – It says on their profile on Campus Dish that they are closed for the
    ■ Leslie – Yes that needs to get updated and I will ensure it gets clairied.
    ■ Cambree – Can you tell us if it was their decision to leave?
    ■ Leslie – I cannot discuss further about it but I appreciate you asking

    Leslie Webb
    A. Nicole Nimmons asked Leslie if IESC was aware that Big City Coffee is coming
    to campus.
    B. The owner of Big City Coffee posted on Facebook that they support the Thin Blue
    Line. The owner, Sarah, wants to be a part of the Inclusive Campus Community.
    Nicole will be coming to IESC soon to discuss her conversations with Sarah.
    1. Em – Who picks who comes to campus for restaurants?
    2. Leslie – Lots of different people it is all underworks currently and we are
    relooking at external vendors

    Francisco – We have had this conversation before. This
    could be the beginning of a revolution where we say that
    we have a standard for corporate partnerships that we

    Alyssa – I think we are asking because we believe that
    there is a problem here. I am deeply concerned and it
    shows that there is a problem because this has already
    happened and it is sending a poor message to black
    students. We are supporting an organization that blatantly
    supports the Thin Blue Line and everyone black person I
    know has stories of being treated unfairly at this place.

    Alyssa – Maybe it is just because I read the meeting notes but I
    am confused about how this happened. There are many local
    coffee places we could have chosen and I know black people are
    not comfortable going there. Big City is very supportive of the Thin
    Blue Line which we know is not supportive of people of color

    It makes
    me feel sick to even think about it. I know this isn’t in your
    realm, Leslie, but I would encourage you to discuss this
    with other administrators because students need to be
    incorporated in all of these discussions. We do not need
    voting power but we need to be in the room and we need
    to be compensated for it.

    It is up to the
    administrators to fix this and allow for students to have a
    voice. We have known for half a decade that they support
    Thin Blue Line and this is unacceptable and should have
    never happened. I know that all of IESC has had an
    experience with police that 9/10 times has not been

    Alyssa – There are only 5 of us and the people who made
    these decisions did not educate themselves. I have known
    that they support the Thin Blue Line for many years as
    well. The people who made this decision don’t care about
    us and it is not just IESC who should stand up for this but
    everyone on campus should stand up for this.

    . I am more concerned about how this happened and how we
    got here because it is an administrative issue and we
    already have Chick-Fil-A on campus and we all know
    where their money goes.

  27. J

    Wow. Gotta say that as an alumni I am ashamed of and disgusted with BSU. I recognize they can pick and choose whom they invite on campus. But to allow one group to eschew their rights and then allow that same group to bully an deny the rights of a private citizen is just absolutely wrong! Is this what’s meant by “Liberal” Arts School.

  28. Erin Loudy Beaudoin

    Instead you choose to violate the first amendment rights of a long time, hard working, business owner and great supporter of our community. Grow Up! Disgusting!

  29. Charles

    Good journalism requires investigation. No research was done or described here into the actual history of the thin blue line. The article is grossly inaccurate. Also, did the writer interview the owner of Big City Coffee to get her side? No.

  30. Good News Everyone

    Good News Big City Coffee Is Being Offered a Seat At The Table for IESC Meetings…

    Oh wait, no. Actually a member of the same committee that brow beat a woman owned small business to leave the campus is being offered a paid position to contribute to mandatory curriculum. This is mandatory as a BSU student you are required to attend these classes. You can’t make this stuff up.
    Francisco – The University Foundation courses are required by all students and
    that is where the commitment to diversity and inclusion lives. I am a part of the
    UF200 subcommittee and they have not had a regular student voice on the
    committee. A student has a structural disadvantage because they are not being
    compensated for that time. I suggested to them to use a student from IESC who
    is paid for their time to contribute to the conversation. It can be busier at times.
    Currently we meet once a month but this is an opportunity to be a part of the
    conversation about UF 200 courses. If you are all willing, I would like to have an
    IESC representative sit on this committee.
    ○ Jaxon – I would like to if nobody else wants to. I remember when I took
    this course it was about real world issues and I think students need to
    understand how important UF 200 is to their education.
    ○ Hailey – Thank you for thinking of this group Francisco. I know the UF
    courses are meant to advance students’ knowledge about the real world
    and I did not have a super engaging course. Whenever there was a
    marginalized topic, they brought other folks in to talk about it and we did
    not have class discussions on it. I think Jaxon would be a great person to
    have on this committee.
    ○ Amanda – I agree and I consent to have Jaxon on the committee.
    ○ Ryann – I consent too.

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