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

Photo by Drew Marshall

*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
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