Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

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Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown Students Continue Fight to Kick Starbucks Off Campus

Following a semester of petitions, protests and discussions with university administration, student group Georgetown Students Against Starbucks (GSAS) has formally requested to university administration that Georgetown sever ties with Starbucks over allegations of union busting. 

GSAS submitted a proposal Feb. 6 to the Committee on Investments and Social Responsibility (CISR), which makes recommendations to the university about shareholder proxies and socially responsible investments, demanding Georgetown immediately divest from its nearly $5 million in Starbucks stock and end food service provider Aramark’s contract for the Leavey Center Starbucks. The campaign is part of a movement across college campuses nationwide to boycott Starbucks, following multiple rulings from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), an individual federal agency that aims to protect workers’ rights, holding that Starbucks has engaged in unlawful anti-union practices. 

Fiona Naughton (SFS ’26), one of GSAS’s organizers, said GSAS is committed to pushing Georgetown to immediately sever ties with Starbucks. 

“We believe that every second that Georgetown waits to remove the location from the Leavey Center and to divest from Starbucks is another moment that will provide the fiscal support for a union-busting campaign and union-busting company,” Naughton told The Hoya. “That’s why we believe this campaign is so urgent because for every day that Georgetown waits, we’re providing more money in Starbucks’s pocket.”

@guagainstsb | In a Feb. 6 proposal, Georgetown Students Against Starbucks (GSAS) formally requested to university administration that Georgetown terminate its contract with the on-campus Starbucks and divest from its stock share in the corporation due to allegations of union busting against the coffee chain.

Despite these allegations of misconduct, a Starbucks spokesperson said that the company remains committed to fair labor practices. 

“As a company, we respect our partners’ right to organize, freely associate, engage in lawful union activities and bargain collectively without fear of reprisal or retaliation — and remain committed to our stated aim of reaching ratified contracts for union-represented stores in 2024,” the spokesperson wrote to The Hoya.

GSAS started their protests against Starbucks last fall, drawing inspiration from a campaign at Cornell University, which pushed the university to end its partnership with Starbucks when its contract with the coffee chain ends in June 2025

Over 500 Georgetown students, faculty and staff have signed a GSAS petition encouraging Georgetown to end its contract with Aramark for the Leavey Center Starbucks and divest from Starbucks stock. GSAS members delivered this petition to University President John DeGioia (CAS ’79, GRD ’95) on Dec. 1, 2023 and have met with administrators at internal committee meetings since. 

Naughton said the campaign still awaits a definitive response from the university.

“A lot of this has been administrative policies and bureaucracy, but we’re really calling on the administration to take a more clear and direct stance,” Naughton said. 

Elinor Clark (CAS ’27), a main organizer for GSAS, said that the largest goal for the organization remains convincing the university to take action to remove Starbucks from campus. 

“What the Georgetown Students Against Starbucks group has proposed is that Georgetown announce that, due to Starbucks’s prolific union-busting campaign, they will let the contract expire in 2027 and not renew it,” Clark said. 

A university spokesperson said that Aramark, Georgetown’s primary food service provider, licenses the Starbucks location in the Leavey Center, where workers are represented by the UNITE HERE union.

“Georgetown does not have a contract with Starbucks,” the spokesperson wrote to The Hoya. “Aramark, the university’s primary food service provider, manages most of the retail and residential dining operations on campus.”

The spokesperson added that the university’s Advisory Committee on Business Practices, which assesses the moral and ethical implications of Georgetown’s staff and vendor labor policies, is currently assessing the issue.

“After receiving the students’ petition last December, we met with several students to discuss their concerns,” the spokesperson wrote. “In January, these students were invited to attend a meeting of Georgetown’s Advisory Committee on Business Practices (ACBP) to make a presentation about their petition and discuss it with the ACBP. The ACBP is continuing to review this matter at this time.” 

While GSAS awaits a response from the university, they intend to continue their campaign until the administration meets their demands, planning information sessions, panel discussions and solidarity events and flyering to raise community awareness.

On Feb. 22, GSAS is hosting a panel titled “The Fight for a Fair Contract: A Conversation with Union Workers,” which Naughton said will attempt to bring worker voices to the table in these protests.

“The goal of the panel on Feb. 22 will be to discuss the importance of unions in all sectors for combating economic inequality and fighting for worker voice,” Naughton said. “We will be featuring speakers from Georgetown’s grad student union, a dining worker representative from UNITE HERE Local 23 and a Starbucks worker to discuss their unique fights for a fair contract and what having union representation means to them.” 

Clark said, despite university inactivity, GSAS remains committed to advocating for the urgency of ending Aramark’s business relationship with Starbucks. 

“It’s really frustrating because we’re here,” Clark said. “We’ve been very loud. And it’s clear that there’s student support for this and the fact that the administration is taking so long to respond is really unfortunate.”

Correction: This article has been updated to clarify the nature of the relationship between Aramark, Georgetown University and Starbucks. Georgetown University does not have a direct contract with Starbucks; rather Aramark manages the relationship.

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