Faculty and staff members at the University of Kansas are calling for a boycott of Chick-fil-A, describing the fast-food eatery as a “bastion of bigotry” over its leader’s stance on LGBTQ issues.
Chick-fil-A is hardly new to the Lawrence campus. KU has housed the Atlanta-based restaurant in the basement of its Wescoe Hall for 15 years, according to The Kansas City Star. But over the summer, it was given a prime real estate spot inside the school’s student union.
Many who work at the college are none too pleased with the location change. They are also up in arms over KU’s newly secured sponsorship with Chick-fil-A, which will feature a coin toss at the start of every home football game for the next several seasons.
In a letter released this week, KU’s Sexuality & Gender Diversity Faculty and Staff Council claimed the popular quick-service restaurant is “hostile to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people, families, and communities.”
“While many Christians are supportive of the LGBTQ community and many are members themselves, the culture of Chick-fil-A fosters hate and discrimination on multiple levels,” the letter continued. “In short, Chick-fil-A on KU’s campus stands in direct contrast to the university’s mission of fostering a multicultural, inclusive environment.”
The council is demanding KU leaders not renew the college’s contract with Chick-fil-A once it expires. They also said the school should be more “transparent, principled, and inclusive” in future dealings with potential commercial partners.
This is not the first time Chick-fil-A has faced discrimination over its CEO Dan Cathy’s years-old comments about same-sex marriage.
In March, administrators with the San Antonia City Council blocked Chick-fil-A from being considered as a restaurant option at the San Antonio International Airport, citing the chain’s “legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior.”
The potential deal — which could have brought around $2 million in revenue each year — was scrapped because, back in 2012, Cathy expressed his personal conviction that marriage is a union between one man and one woman.
“San Antonio is a city full of compassion, and we do not have room in our public facilities for a business with a legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior,” progressive councilman Robert Treviño said at the time of the decision.
In the aftermath of the entire ordeal, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has said the exclusion of a company based on its leader’s personal religious beliefs “demonstrates a total disregard for Texas law and the First Amendment protections in our Constitution.”
“I look forward to reviewing the City of San Antonio’s records surrounding this discriminatory decision,” he added. “Our great state deeply values the First Amendment, and my office will defend those rights for all who live and operate in Texas.”