University of Kentucky, John Schnatter Family Foundation mutually agree to end partnership

Photo: Kristen Kennedy
Photo: Kristen Kennedy(WKYT)
Published: Jul. 13, 2018 at 5:10 PM EDT
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In separate statements from the University of Kentucky and the John H. Schnatter Family Foundation, both parties agreed to remove Schnatter's name from the university's college of business.

This comes after Schnatter admitted to using a racial slur during a May conference call and apologized for the comment once it was revealed in a Forbes article. The business leader used the "N-word" to claim Harland "Colonel" Sanders said the word to black people.

Schnatter has an atrium named for him inside the Gatton College of Business and Economics on the University of Kentucky campus, as well as the John H. Schnatter Institute for the Study of Free Enterprise, after Schnatter pledged millions of dollars in donations.

UK president Eli Capilouto issued the following statement:

“We appreciate Mr. Schnatter’s understanding that his unacceptable language is contrary to the values of the University of Kentucky. We believe in his sincerity to try to make amends. But attempting to continue any financial relationship with Mr. Schnatter would be a painful and unnecessary barrier to our efforts of building a community where everyone is welcome and belongs. Therefore, we will be continuing the important work of the Institute for the Study of Free Enterprise, but neither the Gatton College of Business and Economics nor the Institute will recognize Mr. Schnatter in any way.”

The John H. Schnatter Family Foundation issued a statement at the same time as Capilouto to confirm the agreement.

“When we started working with the University of Kentucky to create the John H. Schnatter Institute for the Study of Free Enterprise in 2015, our focus was, and remains to this day, the students, who benefit from understanding the role free markets play in the economy and society. Based on recent events, the University feels that Mr. Schnatter’s involvement with this program could be a distraction to students and scholars. With that in mind, we have mutually agreed to end our partnership with the University.”

Schnatter had pledged $8 million in a donor agreement that still has years left on it, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported. UK officials said they will not take any more payments, and they will work with Schnatter's foundation to figure out what to do with the money that already has been donated.

A UK spokesperson said the work of the Free Enterprise Institute will continue, but the center and the Gatton College will not recognize Schnatter in any way.

"We want to send the message that we are and this is a community of belonging," said spokesman Jay Blanton, "and it's a place that all who want to call this place home can feel like they belong here."