Some students at a private, Catholic university in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, are apparently less than enthusiastic about the school’s decision to bring popular food chain Chick-fil-A to campus next fall.
The Duke — the official student newspaper of Duquesne University — recently covered the brewing controversy in a piece titled, “Student Group Leaders Concerned About Duquesne Chick-fil-A,” noting that the fast-food issue was recently taken up at a March 26 student government meeting.
The outlet explains:
At the March 26 Student Government Association meeting, Senator at Large Niko Martini proposed that the SGA pass a resolution asking the university to reconsider the inclusion of Chick-fil-A as a dining option for students. […]
“Chick-fil-A has a questionable history on civil rights and human rights,” he said in a statement to The Duke. “I think it’s imperative the university chooses to do business with organizations that coincide with the [university’s] mission and expectations they give students regarding diversity and inclusion.”
The SGA Senate did not pass any resolution but agreed to consider an alternate resolution to vett the Chick-fil-A Express, which senators tabled for the April 9 SGA meeting to allow time to research the concerns.
These comments reportedly came after the school announced on March 20 that a Chick-fil-A Express would be included in dining options next fall — a decision that was apparently made based on student requests; it is unclear if the issue was taken up at the April 9 meeting as was stated in the article.
“More than 245 college campuses around the country including Catholic University, Penn State University, Drexel University and the University of Pittsburgh have successfully brought Chick-fil-A onto their campuses, and more are doing the same in the next several years,” Scott Richards, executive director of Auxiliary Services, said in the March 20 announcement. “Now, our students will have the opportunity to enjoy the brand on our campus instead of having to travel to Oakland or the suburbs.”
Clearly, not everyone was so enthusiastic.
Martini purportedly isn’t the only person with concerns either, as The Duke reported that the president of Lambda, a gay rights campus group, also has concerns about the restaurant’s planned presence, worrying that the “safe environment” and “safe place” the organization has worked to create on campus could be in jeopardy.
Student government president Olivia Erickson said that the governing body will look into campus concerns over Chick-fil-A by gathering student opinions on the matter, according to the article.
The piece did note that some students — even those who support same-sex relationships — are fine with Chick-fil-A coming to campus and see the restaurant’s presence as a good thing. While the article only attracted 11 comments, the majority favored the fast-food chain.
One man named John wrote, “Poor little snowflakes.” Another added that people who feel threatened by the “mere presence of a restaurant” might be in need of “psychological counseling.” And one member of the gay community also spoke out.
“As a member of the gay community, I don’t feel like a fast food option being added to campus threatens my gay identity. At all. Subway has a history of being advertised by someone who is in jail for child porn. Do you believe small children feel threatened on campus? No. Because you can’t associate an entire company with one person’s actions,” the individual wrote.
He or she continued, “I’m gay. I love Chick-fil-A. Do I appreciate that they have made anti-gay movements in the past? No, obviously. But putting a small store on campus is not going to decimate the apparent “safe space” we have here. It’s chicken. It’s fine. Focus on a bigger issue.”
Chick-fil-A was the focus of boycotts in 2012 after CEO Dan Cathy said the Christian-owned company backs traditional marriage.
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