If you have been keeping up with The Record this semester, and before, you have seen mention of the genocide being carried out by Israel’s occupation forces in Palestine, and efforts by members of our community to support a ceasefire. That is no surprise, considering that this institution claims to value peace and justice, and is grounded in Anabaptist-Mennonite values. Students and alumni of Goshen College took part in the January 16th Mennonite Day of Action in Washington, D.C., a peaceful protest at the Capitol’s Cannon Building calling for a ceasefire in Israel and Palestine. Around 150 of the people that were involved in the protest were arrested. 

"[Our] campus must divest from corporations that benefit from settler colonialism. That includes the ubiquitous coffee chain known as Starbucks."

On November 2, President Stoltzfus made a post on her blog calling for us to pay attention to the region’s history and the imbalance of power between Israel and Palestine. While the post does not condemn the occupation outright, the President expressed a deep concern about the brutality of Israel’s response to the attacks on October 7. 

Since then, the bloodshed has been catastrophic. I cannot adequately put it into words. Go on Instagram and watch the most recent reels from folks like Bisan Owda (@wizard_bisan1). See the circumstances of the Palestinian people for yourself, and sit with that. See their pain, but also witness the few moments of joy they have captured in the midst of it all. See their humanity. I urge you, if you have not already. 

Seeing Goshen College’s administration and students taking a stand for peace gives me hope, but to truly live out these values and aspirations, our campus must divest from corporations that benefit from settler colonialism. That includes the ubiquitous coffee chain known as Starbucks. 

AVI Foodsystems is the company that contracts with the college to provide dining services. In the years before the ongoing renovation of Westlawn, the Leaf Raker Cafe (present site of the Union Dining Commons, or colloquially, “the Frott”) has served Starbucks coffee. 

Starbucks has been under fire during the past several months, and rightfully so. The union Starbucks Workers United posted a pro-Palestine tweet shortly after the eruption of violence in October. As the union uses an emblem mirroring that of Starbucks itself, this led to consumers conflating the union’s stance with the company’s stance. Thus, a legal battle has ensued. The company has sued Starbucks Workers United for copyright infringement, while the union has filed a counter-lawsuit of defamation against Starbucks.

Howard Schultz, former CEO of Starbucks, remains a shareholder in the company and is a staunch supporter of Israel. As such, buying and selling products from Starbucks is unethical and contrary to GC’s core values. Frankly, we should not be filling the pockets of those who are complicit in genocide. It is hypocritical and unchristlike. It is against everything this institution stands for. 

In this case, divesting from Starbucks would not only align with GC’s values of peace and justice because of the ethics thereof, but it would also take competition from the student-run coffee shop:  Java Junction. What is the point of having a Starbucks on campus if we have Java, and vice-versa? Besides, Java is fair to its employees — at least, as much as a work-study job at a college can be. Moreover, Java’s coffee supplier is Refinery Coffee Company, a small local business. 

When the Leaf Raker finally returns to normal operations after Westlawn’s renovation, I would love to see it free from that ubiquitous green mermaid. Its niche is already filled by Java Junction, and it would reduce costs for our AVI branch. Java continues to get consumer traffic, and our caffeine fix would be more ethical. Plus, getting our fix at Java supports small businesses. While this will not undo the irreparable damage that Palestine has suffered, it is never too late to divest from corporation-backed colonialism. 


Liam Morris is a senior communication major from Osceola, Indiana.