Students at Rider University in Lawrence Township, New Jersey won’t be able to grab a Chick-fil-A sandwich and waffle fries on campus in between classes any time soon.
In the spring, the private educational institution gave its students the opportunity to choose which new restaurant they wanted on campus. The students voted for Chick-fil-A. However, Rider University removed the wildly popular fast food restaurant from the list of potential dining alternatives when it sent a second survey to students this fall.
The decision to nix Chick-fil-A from the running stemmed from “the company’s record widely perceived to be in opposition to the LGBTQ community.” The president of the university, Gregory G. Dell’Omo, issued a letter on November 23, 2018 announcing his decision, which he said, “required a difficult assessment of competing interests.” Dell’Omo wrote, “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 president of Rider University admitted many people may view the school’s decision “as being just another form of exclusion.” Dell’Omo insisted this assumption is wrong. He stated, “We want to be clear that this was not the spirit in which the decision was made. We fully acknowledge an organization’s right to hold these beliefs, just as we acknowledge the right for individuals in our community and elsewhere to also personally hold the same beliefs.”
In a statement, university administrators said, “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. In many ways, this issue is one that goes beyond our decision and touches on a complex conversation taking place throughout the country.”
Rider University has requested its Center for Diversity and Inclusion to organize a campus forum. The event is reportedly being created in order to allow the voices of students, faculty, staff, and others to be heard.
Chick-fil-A’s Christian values are well-known. The fast food chain’s corporate purpose is “To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us.” Unfortunately, Dell’Omo and others who share his beliefs about Chick-fil-A are wrong. The fast food eatery has never supported any type of discriminatory policies. According to Faithwire, this fallacy can be traced back to a comment Dan Cathy, Chick-fil-A’s CEO, made in 2012. At this time, Cathy voiced his opinion, shared by many, that marriage is a Christian institution between one woman and one man.
Chick-fil-A’s CEO remarked to the Baptist Press, “We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”
The comment caused widespread hysteria among liberals. Boycotts and kiss-ins from LGTBQ activists ensued. Mike Huckabee, a former Republican governor of Arkansas and two-time presidential candidate, organized “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” in response to the fallout. During an interview with the Atlanta Journal Constitution in 2014, Cathy revealed that sharing his closely held views about marriage likely wasn’t the best business decision. Although he hadn’t changed his stance on the issue, Cathy said he regretted “making the company a symbol in the marriage debate.”
After the announcement of Rider University’s decision, Chick-fil-A released a statement. The fast food restaurant said, “Rider University’s survey was recently brought to our attention, and while we respect the University’s decision, this news story represents a good opportunity to clarify misperceptions about our brand. Chick-fil-A is a restaurant company focused on food, service and hospitality, and our restaurants and licensed locations on college campuses welcome everyone.”
“We have no policy of discrimination against any group, and we do not have a political or social agenda,” the company’s statement continued. “More than 120,000 people from different backgrounds and beliefs represent the Chick-fil-A brand.”
~ 1776 Christian