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University says no to campus Chick-fil-A due to anti-LGBTI record

Chick-fil-A restaurant

A private university in New Jersey removed Chick-fil-A as an option for a new campus restaurant due to the company’s perceived anti-LGBTI record.

Rider University is located in central Jersey. During the spring semester, they polled students about which food establishment they’d like to see on campus.

While Chick-fil-A reportedly saw strong support in the poll, University officials decided to retroactively remove the chicken-based restaurant from the poll.

In a letter to the University community, administrators wrote they removed Chick-fil-A due to their ‘record widely perceived to be in opposition to the LGBTQ+ community’.

‘We sought to be thoughtful and fair in balancing the desire to provide satisfying options for a new on-campus restaurant while also being faithful to our values of inclusion,’ the letter continues.

Making the decision

University President Gregory G. Dell’Omo and Vice President of Student Affairs Leanna Fenneberg penned the letter.

‘They challenged us to reflect on our values and consider what kind of community we want to provide for those who live and learn at Rider University,’ the pair wrote of the choices they made.

‘Ultimately, we decided to lean in the direction of creating a welcoming environment where differences can be appreciated and where each individual can expect to experience dignity and respect.’

They also wrote that they understand their decision may seem like ‘exclusion’.

‘We fully acknowledge an organization’s right to hold these beliefs,’ they continued. ‘Just as we acknowledge the right for individuals in our community and elsewhere to also personally hold the same beliefs.’

They have also asked the University’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion to organize a campus forum on this issue.

What’s the company’s record?

Chick-fil-A’s controversy began in 2012.

Equality Matters first reported the company donated nearly $2 million to anti-gay groups in 2010. Then the COO Dan Cathy said the company is against marriage equality and operates on ‘biblical principles’.

Critics soon came pouring in, including both celebrities, politicians, and The Muppets.

Same-sex couples began kissing in front of establishments as a form of protest.

Before Rider University, two schools in North Carolina also banned the fast-food restaurant: Elon University and Davidson College.

A spokesperson for the company told NBC: ‘We have no policy of discrimination against any group, and we do not have a political or social agenda. More than 120,000 people from all different backgrounds and beliefs represent the Chick-fil-A brand.’

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Author: Anya Crittenton