Oath Pizza replaces Papa John's on campus

The change was unrelated to CEO Schnatter's controversial comments


Workers at Oath Pizza make food for the lunch rush on Oct. 10 in the Down Under Food Court.

Papa John's storefronts at Central Michigan University have been replaced with Oath Pizza and D’lish. 

There were Papa John's storefronts in The Market in the East Campus Residential Community, as well as the Down Under food court at the Bovee University Center. 

CMU Campus Dining decided to bring the Oath Pizza brand to campus in May 2018, when Aramark developed a new partnership with the brand. The decision to pursue Oath at the Down Under Food Court was made before, and without consideration of, the news that broke later in the summer of the Papa John’s PR controversy.

John H. Schnatter, founder Papa John's Pizza, stepped down as CEO July 11, after coming under fire in November for criticizing the National Football League, and using a racial slur during a conference call in May.

Several universities cut ties with Papa John's following the remarks including University of Kentucky, University of Utah, and Grand Valley State University.  University of Louisville not only eliminated storefronts from campus, but removed Papa John's name from its football stadium.

Nikki Smith, Campus Dining’s District Marketing Manager said Campus Dining is unaware of which universities chose to change the nature of their relationship with Papa John's due to Schnatters remarks. Those decisions are made at the individual university level.

“As pizza continues to be a popular option for students, CMU identified Oath Pizza, which fits the niche for a fast-casual, on-trend artisan pizza brand that is ideal for a lunch destination,” said Smith. “Oath Pizza also exhibits environmental integrity, which is important to us and our guests at CMU.”

Oath Pizza is the first and only pizza brand to be granted Certified Humane approval for their proteins.   Certified Humane Project is the leading non-profit certification organization dedicated to improving the lives of farm animals in food production from birth through slaughter. Their ingredients are also sustainable sourced with no chemicals, artificial preservatives, hormones, and antibiotics. 

Oath Pizza had its grand opening Oct. 10 in the Down Under Food Court. So far, students seem to like the new pizza chain.

“I have had a great experience with the replacement, but I am a freshman and can’t compare it to the Papa Johns,” said Grand Rapids freshman Elise Marshal. “They had great service, many options and it is so convenient.”  

Neither Marshal nor Chicago junior Darral Mcmahan knew about Schnatter's comments, but Mcmahan had mixed feelings about the change.

“I live in Saxe Hall and never liked Papa Johns, but the replacement stores around campus are a little better,” said  Mcmahan. “I have not had a bad experience with the new places”