Starbucks at UC San Diego will now participate in the company’s nationwide store shutdown on May 29 for racial bias trainings, Sharon Van Bruggen, director of University Centers, announced late Wednesday afternoon. The announcement comes one day after a store lead told The Triton that they will not be closing on May 29.
“The Starbucks at Price Center, operated by University Centers, will be closed for a portion of the day on Tuesday, May 29, 2018,” Van Bruggen said in an email sent to the University Centers Advisory Board. “We are taking this opportunity to participate in training designed to ensure everyone in our store feels safe and welcome.”
According to Van Bruggen, University Centers reached out to Starbucks on April 18 after the company announced on Tuesday that it will close its company-owned coffee shops in the United States to provide racial bias training to its employees on May 29. While Starbucks at UCSD is a licensed store, which is typically not affected by these decisions, University Centers took the announcement as an opportunity to provide training on managing implicit bias. Details on the training are yet to be decided, but the training will apply to all employees at the UCSD Starbucks, including student and non-student workers.
UCSD Starbucks’ decision to partially close remains in stark contrast to the similar Starbucks stores at UC Irvine and UC Riverside, which will both remain open as of now. It is unclear if their employees will receive training.
The company’s decision comes in response to an incident earlier this month in which two African American men were arrested at a Starbucks in Philadelphia, prompting public backlash. The two men had asked to use the bathroom while waiting for a friend, but an employee had them removed, citing that they had not bought anything. Starbucks immediately apologized, leading to a planned shutdown of over 8,000 stores nationwide.
When The Triton asked a spokesperson from the Starbucks corporate office as to why some stores will remain open, the spokesperson explained that it may be due to the fact that the UCSD Starbucks is a university-affiliated store, but Starbucks could also neither confirm nor deny whether UCSD Starbucks employees will still receive the racial bias training.
Currently, all Starbucks employees at UCSD receive training during the onboarding process, including not just barista training, but also sexual harassment and cyberbullying training.
Anabel King is a Staff Writer for the Triton.
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Starbucks made its announcement Monday.