Students vote to expel Chick-fil-A
by Leigh Jones
Posted 10/16/12, 12:23 pm
Chick-fil-A could soon be expelled from a private liberal arts college in North Carolina because of the company president's support for traditional marriage.
Elon University's student senate voted 35 to 11 to recommend the fast food restaurant's removal from the school's dining hall, despite support for the company on campus. A poll conducted in September by student newspaper The Pendulum, showed 64 percent of students, alumni, faculty, and staff wanted the restaurant to stay put.
But most of the students who addressed the senate before the vote last week asked the representatives to support the resolution, according to a report in The Pendulum.
The document, drafted by the school's gay-straight alliance, claims Chick-fil-A does not comply with the school's nondiscrimination policy.
The Atlanta-based fast food company has faced criticism for more than a year over donations its foundation makes to groups that support traditional marriage. Critics also lambasted company President Dan Cathy for comments he's made regarding marriage. The company has defended claims of discrimination by noting its policy of treating all customers and employees equally and with respect.
The latest round of attacks against the company started this summer after a story in Baptist Press News quoted Cathy saying he supported the biblical definition of the family while respecting anyone who disagrees. Amid the backlash, elected officials in Boston and Chicago said they would oppose the company's attempt to open restaurants in their cities. And several colleges pledged to reexamine their vending contracts with the company, which sells its popular chicken sandwiches in dining halls and student centers.
Last month, the company again made the news after a Boston alderman claimed company representatives told him it would no longer make donations to organizations that oppose gay marriage. Several days later, Chick-fil-A issued a statement saying nothing about its corporate giving policy had changed.
Students at another small North Carolina school, Davidson College, became the first to make good on the promise eschew the company's food, voting in August to stop buying food from Chick-fil-A for its monthly late night events. Students at Emory University, in Atlanta, and Southern Methodist University, in Dallas, also recently petitioned school administrators to remove the restaurant chain from their campuses.
But the company remains a popular on-campus dining choice at many colleges. And contracts with the restaurant chain, which usually operates at schools through large food vendors like Aramark, prevent administrators from removing the outlets arbitrarily.
The Elon resolution must be approved by the Student Government Association president before it can move forward. School administrators have the final say over whether the company goes or stays.
Leigh lives in Houston with her husband and daughter. She is the news editor for The World and Everything in It and reports on education for WORLD Digital.