Friday, August 31, 2012
UNT students petition to remove Chick-fil-A from Union
The petition has not affected business at the Chick-fil-A in the Union, said someone in dining services.
DENTON Sparked by a national firestorm over a fast food chain president’s statement on gay marriage, an online petition is calling for the Chick-fil-A in the University Union to be removed by the university.
English junior Joseph Billeaudeaux launched the petition on the website change.org over the summer, and it has since garnered about 470 signatures.
Billeaudeaux wrote on the website that “maintaining a contract with an anti-gay vendor like Chick-fil-A undermines what makes this university so great,” and that the restaurant should be removed as a vendor at UNT.
The controversy stems from a July interview in the Baptist Press, where Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy said that the company believes in supporting the concept of a “traditional family.” The national chain donated about $2 million to anti-same-sex marriage groups in 2010, according to the fact-checking organization Equality Matters.
As of Tuesday night, the petition to UNT President V. Lane Rawlins was about 4,000 signatures short of its goal.
Kim Schroder, associate director of retail dining services, said the petition has not affected business at the Chick-fil-A in the Union.
“Generally the summer months are always our slowest, so the petition to remove it hasn’t had an effect on us yet,” Schroeder said.
As furor over Cathy’s statements reached a peak in July, various pro-same-sex marriage groups called for boycotts of the company, and the Jim Henson Company terminated a business contract to make children’s toys for Chick-fil-A, instead donating the money to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, according to ABC News.
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino publically spoke against the company’s franchise expansion in the city, while former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee called for a Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, which had about 600,000 RSVPs on Facebook.
According to Chick-fil-A’s website, the company has five locations on college campuses in North Texas, including the University of Texas at Arlington, where a similar petition to have the vendor removed has appeared on change.org.
Merchandising senior Caitlin Murphy said that although she loves the food at Chick-fil-A, she now chooses to patronize other fast food restaurants.
“It’s unfortunate that the owners do not believe in equality, because I sure do. I’m not opposed to it being removed,” she said.
Other students do not share that sentiment.
Development and family studies senior Colleen Farmer said Cathy’s statements were justified and the public was overreacting.
“I think he was validated by our right to free speech,” she said. “The whole thing was just blown out of proportion.”
Another petition to remove Chick-fil-A from the Union, started by a UNT alumna, as well as a pro-Chick-fil-A petition have also sprung up on change.org. Neither petition has garnered more than 100 signatures.
Although Schroeder said she encouraged concerned students to voice and act on their opinions, she said it was unlikely that the Chick-fil-A in the Union would be going anywhere. The university has a five-year contract with the company that solidifies its presence in the Union for the foreseeable future.
She stressed that retail dining service employees in the Union have no public stance on the issue, and equally value all viewpoints.
Pegasus News Content partner - North Texas Daily
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