Despite protests brought on by faculty and students, Purdue University will continue with plans to open a Chick-fil-A on campus.
According to Journal & Courrier, University faculty and students want nothing to do with the fast-food chain because of the companies Christian values.
In its statement, Purdue cited “overwhelming demand for (Chick-fil-A’s) service from students, staff, and faculty,” as their main reason for bringing the chain to campus. The statement also noted that the person bringing the franchise was a “young female franchisee, a Purdue graduate” and “has signed and observed a commitment of equal access and treatment in her employment and service practices.”
The University statement reads:
While we respect and protect the rights of all to express their opinions at Purdue, this clarification is intended to reassure our students and others that this long-requested dining option will not be taken from them and to dispel any impression that Purdue would ever seriously consider such an action.
Like all Purdue vendors, the young woman franchisee, a Purdue graduate, has signed and observed a commitment of equal access and treatment in her employment and service practices. We would not be promoting choice and freedom by depriving thousands of people in our community of a choice they have long sought and are already taking advantage of in large numbers. And, we would not be practicing inclusion by excluding a completely legitimate business and its staff from our campus.
The university’s statement came after the school’s Senate’s Equity and Diversity Committee proposed a measure that would not allow Chick-fil-A on campus. The committee claims that the franchise does not “uphold the same values and promote inclusivity with their policies, hiring practices and actions.”
The Senate proposal will be up for a vote on October 21 and will apply to other chains as well.
Jo Boileau, the student body president and a member of the LGBT community, pointed out during a Senate meeting that Chick-fil-A is problematic for LGBT students on campus.
“As student body president and as an openly gay student, this is something I’m confronting on a daily basis, in conversations I’m having every single day with students on this campus,” Boileau said.
It’s not just students who are vocal about the fast-food chain, but also faculty members. Linda Prokopy, a professor of in the Forestry and Natural Resources Department and a member of the University Senate’s Equity and Diversity Committee, said that she is upset with the university.
“I’m extremely disappointed that Purdue is not standing behind our diversity statement,” Prokopy said. “While it’s freedom of speech for people to choose to eat where they like, and I would not object to a Chick-fil-A off-campus, it is not OK for the university to so openly tell the LGBTQ community that we are OK hosting a business that will donate profits to groups that seek to hurt them.”
Not all students are upset about Chick-fil-A, as many are excited for the chain to be on campus and more accessible.
“I think the number of people trying to keep Chick-fil-A off our campus because of their political stances is a small minority,” said David Bergsma, a senior in Purdue’s doctor of pharmacy program. “Most students couldn’t care less, we just want the amazing food they have.”
Riley Johnson, a senior studying dietetics, said that the focus on the companies political positions is inappropriate.
“This is an incredible company with strong values, great services and delicious food,” Johnson shared.
“The restaurant’s stances do not cross my mind when I go there or affect my eating habits,” Johnson said. “I personally believe a private company should have the freedom to take a political or religious stance if they choose. If people don’t agree with it, then they don’t have to eat there. That is their choice.”
A change.org petition was created by Jenna Lautenschlager in order to bring a Chick-fil-A to Purdue’s campus. The petition has over 3,500 signatures so far and is still growing.
You can find the petition here.
The Chick-fil-A is set to open in the fall of 2020.