News / Student Life

Students Question if Campus Starbucks Should Remain Open

Hunter’s uncrowded Starbucks during an early Monday afternoon. (Photo: Carol Bautista)
Photo by Carol Bautista

Students who support Palestinian rights said there is no need for the college to host a Starbucks on campus and the space should instead be used as a much-needed student lounge.

When the Israel-Hamas war started on October 7, many former Starbucks patrons aligned themselves with the Palestinians as various videos of the conditions in the Gaza Strip appeared online. When Starbucks filed a lawsuit against Workers United, a labor union, for trademark infringement and to stop certain employees from posting pro-Palestinian social media posts with the company’s logo, there were many protests and boycotts of the coffee chain as many young Americans felt aligned with Starbucks employees who were trying to unionize.

The coffee chain saw its first quarter 2024 revenue fall slightly lower than what Wall Street analysts had expected, as CEO Laxman Narasimhan said there were “headwinds” from the protests and lower sales in international markets.

Narasimhan is set to restart negotiations with Workers United soon.

Student working on an assignment with a Paris Baguette drink beside her inside of Starbucks. (Photo: Carol Bautista)
Photo by Carol Bautista

That said, many Hunter students are done patronizing the store.

“As of now, I notice it’s rather empty on the student entrance side and I personally don’t patronize there anymore,” said Jack Kevin Gonzalez, a junior human biology major.

It would be helpful to have the location be used as a means to support students, like somewhere to rest in between classes, he added.

Many Hunter students agreed that the space could become another alternative to the libraries in the East building as it tends to be quiet during most hours.

Some students said they have never visited the store since it opened.

“I’m not a coffee drinker so honestly I used to feel indifferent to Starbucks being on campus, but after hearing about their alliance with Israel I feel the presence of Starbucks is unnecessary and overall is a really bad look for our school,” said Isabella Perez, a junior undeclared major.

A Starbucks employee at the Hunter College location, who asked to remain anonymous, stated that there were no updates or changes being told to the staff after multiple protests took place in front of the store since October of last year.

Some students deem the menu to be costly but its atmosphere brings comfort and convenience due to its proximity. Students like Kirita Spence, a junior media studies major, who posts regularly about the crisis on her Instagram account, have a strong opinion on the removal of the chain on campus. In most cases, the posts contain explicit content, alarming statistics and updates on the lack of necessities for Palestinians.

“Your money could go to a local coffee shop or for coffee supplies…The least Americans can do is listen to Palestinians when they ask us to boycott. They’ll [Americans] be ok without Starbucks.”

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