It looks like students at a private university in New Jersey won’t be eating Chick-Fil-A for a while, as the university believes the restaurant doesn’t belong on the menu for students, focusing on their Christian values.
Rider University asked students what fast-food chain they would like to see on campus, allowing them to fill a survey in where the students could select their preferred choice. The university decided to exclude the option of Chick-Fil-A, citing concerns over the company’s attitude towards the LGBTQ community.
The university stated:
“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 choices in this situation, like in so many others, were imperfect. 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 school removed the Chick-fil-A option based on the “company’s record” which is widely perceived to be in opposition to the LGBTQ community. The institution wants to “remain faithful to their values of inclusion” and consider the move as a form of exclusion.
The popular chain quickly pushed back against the university’s characterization, saying the restaurant is merely providing food for people and doesn’t have any strict agendas. The company also explained they have no policy of discrimination against any group and do not have a specific political or social agenda, rather focus on food, service, and hospitality, reassuring that more than 120,000 people from all different beliefs and backgrounds represent their brand.
Chick-fil-A has been criticized in the past, stirring controversy after CEO Dan Cathy’s expressed his views on gay marriage. In 2012 he defended the “tradition” definition of marriage and expressed views critical of gay marriage, focused on his Christian faith. News came out the fast food restaurant had donated millions of dollars to political organizations seen by LGBTQ activists as hostile to LGBTQ rights. The company released a statement afterward, stating, “Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.”
After the heavy amount of attention they received from the public, Rider University is said to organize a campus forum so faculty member and students can express their views over the situation.