By CJ Guion
Chick-fil-A has been the center of controversy on college campuses around the country following reports that the restaurant chain publicly supported an Anti-Gay group. Currently nine universities such as Arizona State and Texas Tech currently have petitions circulating on www.Change.org to have the restaurant chain permanently banned from their institutions. Other campuses such as Duke University have also begun to review their working relationships with the company.
Earlier this month, news surfaced that a Pennsylvania outlet of Chick-fil-A, agreed to provide food for a marriage seminar hosted by a leading anti-gay organization in the state. Traditionally, Chick-fil-A has been transparently known to be a private business that is strong on Christian values; after all, company policy states that Chick-fil-A must be closed on Sundays and has acquired the nickname in some circles as “Jesus Chicken.” Thus far, Indiana University South Bend has been the only university to successfully remove the restaurant from their campus. However, after a careful review of the suspension, the restaurant received the go ahead to return to South Bend.
Following the suspension of the restaurant the founder of the company went viral with a public statement insisting that the donation of sandwiches simply does not imply support for the organization’s mission:
“Providing food to these events or any event is not an endorsement of the mission, political stance or motives of this or any other organization,” stated Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy. Cathy went on to say that any suggestion that the company backed the organization was inaccurate.
Chick Fil A is the centerpiece of the Atrium Food Court here on campus and is slated to open in another location on Centennial campus in the spring. The restaurant was recently upgraded to a larger space following the revamp of the Atrium. It has been stated that NC State students have been quiet on the issue, but that just may not be the case.
According to Justine Hollingshead, Director for NC State GLBT Programs and Services, talks have begun to arise between the GLBT Center and other student groups, but the respective organizations have not reached the point where they are ready to begin talks with University Dining and Campus Enterprises. From a business perspective she understands that “NC State has a larger student population to serve.” However, she stated that “the school must realize that the GLBT Center and other student groups have the right to speak out against the values set forth by Chik Fil A.” Being that NC State is the home of diversity and inclusion, Hollingshead would like for NC State in the future to closely examine vendors they bring on campus to ensure that they mesh with the values set forth by the University as well as those of the GLBT Center.” Hollingshead firmly believes that students have the final say on issues by way of their buying power. After all, Chik Fil A is not the only option for chicken. Hollingshead believes that one reason why students may be quiet on the issue is because they simply do not know or have not heard of the situation.