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Katie Sims / Sun Staff Photographer

February 7, 2017

Students Support Starbucks Stance on Refugee Initiative

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It’s no longer just the lattes that give Starbucks fans a reason to support the international coffee empire.

Following the announcement of its new initiative to hire 10,000 refugees across the United States in the next five years, Starbucks reigns in general approval from Collegetown coffee fans.

The initiative comes in the wake of an executive order by President Donald Trump that aims to ban all refugees from entering the United States for 120 days and to prevent the entrance of Syrian refugees indefinitely.

“I think it’s good that they’re taking a stance and showing that they care about people and are not accepting what Trump is doing,” said Kevin Beaulieu ’17. “I’ve been impressed with how much I’ve seen in the past few weeks with businesses doing things like that and releasing statements. I think people realize how important it is to speak up about these things.”

Simin Zou, who moved to the United States from China five years ago and hopes to find a job at Cornell, expressed similar enthusiasm.

“If you lose American values, then people want to come here,” she said. “I’m here because of the democracy and the freedom people have. … People think that there are only dictators in China. I think Trump is more like a dictator, to be honest.”

Critics of the initiative have pointed to employment problems here at home, according to The Seattle Times, arguing that Starbucks should hire more Americans, particularly veterans.

But as the Starbucks Armed Forces Network indicated, Starbucks has an initiative for that too — they have already hired 8,800 veterans since 2013, with a goal to hire 10,000 veterans by 2018, according to their website.

“We are living in an unprecedented time, one in which we are witness to the conscience of our country, and the promise of the American Dream, being called into question,” said Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO, in his online statement.

Though Zou was enthusiastic about the coffee chain’s support, she still expressed concern about the extent of Trump’s power.

“People did pay a lot of prices to make things more equal for everybody, so I hope this is just a part of the fight to make the world better,” she added. “But it is concerning that so many higher level positions are occupied by Trump supporters.”

Jennifer Zhang ’18 hopes the pledge will inspire other companies as well, commending the company in “setting this tone” to call other companies to similar actions.

“I think more high-profile companies like Starbucks should be doing this to set an example of what America should be doing to be a better nation,” she said.

Maddie Holden ’19 was comforted by the company’s initiative.

“Especially as [Trump] continues to target or attack certain people’s values, [businesses] will try to stand up more and more,” she said. “I think it’s really empowering to see so many people here and across the country taking a stand and making their voices heard, so I hope the Cornell student body keeps it up for the long run.”