Emory to Remove Chick-fil-A From Cox Hall

The University will officially remove Chick-fil-A from the Cox Hall Food Court this summer.

Food Advisory Committee Emory (FACE) presented three proposed floor plans for Cox Hall at a student feedback meeting on March 7, none of which contained the Chick-fil-A currently present in the building. Chick-fil-A will be eliminated as a food option in Cox Hall as part of a facelift the food court will undergo during the summer, according to David Furhman, the senior director of Emory’s Food Service Administration.

The adopted floor plan will place a pizza and pasta venue where Chick-fil-A currently resides. Other changes will include the expansion of both the Mexican food and salad areas, as well as the construction of both a grab-and-go station and a coffee and bakery area.

Furhman said the decision to remove Chick-fil-A from all three of the proposed floor plans was based solely on student feedback that his office has received through a series of surveys and focus groups. The removal of Chick-fil-A was not a politically motivated move, nor was it spurred by the outcries against it that have taken place on campus, Furhman said.

“What we learned was that there was no great affinity or love for Chick-fil-A,” Furhman said. “It was more of an affinity or love of the convenience, and what students also told us was that they didn’t really love Chick-fil-A.”

Controversy regarding the national restaurant chain arose last summer when Chick-fil-A COO and President Dan Cathy publicly stated his opposition to gay marriage. Since then, members of Emory’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community formed a committee calling for Chick-fil-A’s removal from Cox Hall, and the Student Government Association (SGA) passed a resolution against Chick-fil-A’s presence on campus in December. Students also held a protest last semester.

Furhman said Chick-fil-A has existed on Emory’s campus for 29 years. Given FACE’s commitment to variety, he said, it was time to “shake things up a bit.”

Chick-fil-A did not meet Campus Life and student values, according to College sophomore Karoline Porcello, a FACE co-chair. She also specified that Chick-fil-A’s values were not the deciding factor in the removal of Chick-fil-A, though she said they were a contributing factor.

Student feedback was one of six criteria FACE used in determining whether current restaurants in Cox Hall would remain in their respective locations or be removed, according to College sophomore Michael Sacks, a FACE co-chair.

The six criteria included menu variety and flavor profiles, menu quality — for example, minimally processed and fresh —, brand commitment to sustainability, brand ethos and consistency with Campus Life core values, preferential survey data, and business, operational and financial considerations.

— By Asst. News Editor Dustin Slade

Photo by Photography Editor Emily Lin

A full version of this story will be published in next Friday’s issue.

63 COMMENTS

    • Andy – I was a part of the discussions, too. To be honest, the political issue was the last thing on our minds. We can’t say that it had absolutely nothing to do with it, because some students voiced that as a concern. FACE’s missive (and ultimate concern) is food – not the politics surrounding said food. Students overwhelmingly said that CFA wasn’t a priority for them, and that it wasn’t as healthy as it could be. So, we switched it out. End of story.

  1. As an Emory University graduate, I am quite ashamed that Chick-fil-A will be removed from the Emory University Campus. When I was a student, the restaurant was a very popular food option, among others. All people have value, and should be treated with respect. At the same time, the homosexual act is morally wrong, and is not acceptable behavior. It is not something to fear, which is homophobia, but it is a moral wrong according to the clear Judeo-Christian tradition. Given the viability of Chick-fil-a as a business entity around the United States, I seriously doubt that the eatery could not be profitable. If students desire not to eat at Chick-fil-a, they may choose to do so, without interfering with the rights of others.

    • As a current Emory University student, I am quite ashamed that we have alumni expressing such ignorant views. I hope you didn’t learn that you are free to dictate to others how they should behave and what constitutes ‘Judeo-Christian’ morality while you were student here. You also need to understand what the meaning of a right is. Emory is not banning students from eating at Chick-Fil-A. That would be a violation of students’ rights, much like preventing two law-abiding, tax-paying adults in a consensual relationship from applying for the civil institution of marriage.

    • Bro did you even read the article? Students weren’t patronizing it. You seem to confuse their exercising their right not to go and the place’s losing its competitive spot in the DUC thanks to student pressure with the company’s rights being (somehow) interfered with. That doesn’t make a lot of sense man.

      PS. I find your thoughts on “the homosexual act” (which one, BTW?) a moral wrong.

      • I have real trouble buying the argument that Chick-fil-A was not being patronized. Only a few years ago it was perfectly normal to see long lines by their booth around lunch when sandwich production had stalled, and those same sorts of lines have shown up this year as well.

        Especially given that FACE’s six categories for considering food establishments openly includes an assessment of company ethos and values, I don’t see how the political issue could NOT have been a primary motivating factor.

  2. If the comments on this article are any indication, FACE can rest assured that the people bothered by this decision are not representative of Emory’s values, either. We’ve had an office dedicated to queer student life since 1991, and even the (presumably Judeo-Christian!) Candler School of Theology has an officially chartered organization to support LGBT students. I just wish the University had the guts to go on the record saying that this is why CFA is being removed. But the end result is still the same, so, I guess we’ll take it.

    • Laura – those involved in the decision have gone on record to say that the decision to remove was not politically motivated. As FACE, we created these floorplans in response to student feedback about what they’d like to eat, not their political views. While we can’t say for sure the decrease in patronization was unrelated to CFA’s political statements (as Karoline mentioned), it was not at the forefront of anyone’s mind during the discussions – first and foremost the students who participated in the focus groups.

    • You’re right. Those greasy chicken sandwiches truly were doing Christ’s work, and those waffle fries were all that was keeping this campus from falling into a pit of endless sodomy and sin. May God forgive us all!

  3. This is a clear victory for the students and allies on Emory’s campus that advocated for LGBT justice. It would be dignified and even commendable for David Furham not to cover up one of the few social justice oriented decisions Emory has been forced to make as of late.
    I give kudos to the FACE co-chair Karoline Porcello for speaking truth even though she surely faced pressure for doing so.
    Note to the Emory PR machine…
    Stating first and foremost that: “this wasn’t a politically motivated move, nor spurred on by student activism.” despite the social realities on campus and nationally (gay folks are rising up whether you like it or not), despite a 29 year relationship with Chick-fil-A, despite a close relationship between Dan Kathy and the Emory administration means precisely that this was a political move spurred on by campus activism.
    And a huge congrats to student activists working in a repressive environment at Emory university. Claim the victory and own it.

    • To clear up any minsinformation, those of us on FACE have taken this to the streets first to ensure that the “Emory PR machine” doesn’t spin this one way or the other. Karoline was referring to the fact that we took the decline in purchases/revenue from CFA into consideration… She faced no pressure to speak one way or the other. I have spoken to a reporter, and FACE co-chair Michael Sacks has spoken to a few as well. Our message has always been consistent. FACE is about food, not politics, and it is unfortunate that people have turned this into a political issue. I ask this question: if removing CFA was a political decision, then what was removing Pizza Hut or changing up the Asian food?

  4. Just when I thought Emory couldn’t make my experience at the institution any worse….they take away the one food source that was actually consistent.
    They had 3 proposals and not one of them had Chick Fil A included. It seems to me they made up their minds on getting rid of the organization. In fact, the committee should release the survey results. I am interested in how my colleagues viewed Emory’s dining options. I didn’t get a chance to take the survey.

      • I actually did attend a focus group. And it was pretty clear they had no proposals at the time. I also made it clear at said Focus Group that Chick Fil A should stay. I feel like I was lied to.

      • Not everyone has time to attend those meetings. Plus, I bet that there is a good chance that a lot of people who came to vote against Chick-Fil-A were people who were big supporters of the LGBT cause. I am not doubting that FACE’s first focus is food. I just think that you should’ve done a school-wide survey via email. Chick-Fil-A is arguably the most popular food option at Cox, and taking it away without a school-wide vote is unfair to Emory students. This isn’t about gay rights; this is about what students want.

    • Lovin’ the ignorance here. Is this the “homosexual act” Judeo-Christians must oppose? I think it’s “kind of gross” how straight men want to ejaculate into my mouth. That’s where pee comes out of.

      For the record, anal sex is not just for men.

      • Your points is invalid. Sexual morality has the same standards for homosexual, hetrosexual, married, single, or widowed. There is no different for any of them. People seem to forget that judo-christian values mean no sexual acts outside of marriage which is a condemnation against many hetrosexuals as well. Any sexual act outside of marriage or even some within marriage is wrong and has negative consequences on families the basic building block of society.

  5. I know many of people who loved CFA- this is nothing short of political. Most of the time I saw people eating CFA. Why didnt you get rid of the Mexican? Every survey I took said I disliked the Mexican – the meat is always undercooked. And I know at least 100 people if not more who agree. It’s really sad that Emory is grasping at straws to be in the public’s good graces.

  6. There’s no way popularity was the problem. Chik-Fil-A was one of the most popular dining options in Cox.

    I think it was a question of respondent motivation. People who felt strongly about the gay issue were most motivated to fill out the survey and give CFA a negative rating.

    • Bingo! You are so right. I want to see their focus groups and survey results, as well as the “numbers” claiming that CFA wasn’t that busy, because I also found it to be one of the busiest places in Cox.

  7. I find it significantly ironic that Emory students and others do not have the courage to state that a significant driver for removing CFA was Cathy’s position. It is sad to see such a mass group of cowards that fail to take credit for their own activist cause.

  8. The controversy surrounding Chick-fil-A was being handled by high-level administrators, trustees, and multiple conversations between Dan Cathy and President Wagner.

    The decision to remove Chick-fil-A was directly related to the gay issue and it was made by people well above the pay-grade of the FACE committee members who were nominally looking into this.

    • Wagner is an ignorant, racist supporter of slavery. I don’t care that he closed the Chick-fil-A. He’s still a bigot. What he wrote in the alumni magazine is way worse than what Chick-fil-A’s CEO said.

  9. Claiming to remove Chick-fil-a due to a “lack of popularity among students” is complete, egregious bullshit. Instead of admitting to pressure by gay groups, FACE is trying to save face (see what I did there?) and blame a lack of interest.

    Why not just admit the truth? It’s not PC to allow a blatantly anti-gay company to be represented on a college campus. We would expect Emory to remove Chick-fil-a for these reasons in the interests of equality and inclusiveness, not because of some false lack of patronage by student customers.

    Trying to pin this decision on some fake economic reason is poor form by this committee. We’re not idiots. Tell us the truth.

  10. I demand to see the “numbers” you claim are the reason for removing Chick-fil-A. They always look busy as heck to me when I’m in Cox Hall, or at least as busy as the Mexican place you want to expand.

    Further, I guarantee that the “focus groups” and “surveys” were distributed to biased groups of people. You can spin this however you want, but I won’t be patronizing ANY of Cox Hall’s vendors in the future.

    Emory is a bunch of liberal morons – only open to “tolerance” with those who agree with your leftist garbage.

    FYI, you are not being discriminated against just because people don’t “condone” or “publicly approve” of your lifestyle.

  11. I’m a liberal, but I love Chick-Fil-A. Every capitalist entity can be traced back to something bad. Most capitalist corporations do some bad things.

    That being said…there is no way Chick-Fil-A is not popular enough. It is definitely one of the most popular things in Cox if not the most popular.

    This decision should not have been made by a focus group. It should have been a survey which heard the responses of a majority of the student population. I know that if I had a very strong position against Chick Fil A for LGBT reasons, I would have made sure to sign up for the focus groups. I doubt there was much interest in the focus groups. Therefore, anyone who wanted to be in one was able to. And as a result you had a biased sample.

    I’m fine with removing it to make a statement against Dan Cathy and his beliefs, but you cannot say that negative reviews from a few small focused groups caused you to remove it. You cannot have people self-select for something like this. They should have emailed random people from the email directory.

  12. Why does it matter if the owner of a restaurant chain supports gay marriage? I don’t know the political leanings of the owners at most places that I eat and shop. I’m not for or against gay marriage but I just think that if we allow people to marry others of the same-sex we have to be fair to everyone who wants a non-traditional marriage. Shouldn’t polygamy be allowed? And people who want to marry animals or inanimate objects should be allowed to follow their dreams. I’m serious. What right does the government have to tell you someone that they can’t marry a dog! So all food service providers at Emory should be asked if they want to prevent people from having multiple husbands or wives or marrying their pets. Didn’t the Nazis call for boycotts of Jewish owned businesses back in the day?

  13. Surely you must understand that these campus activists don’t give a damn about your thoughts, needs, opinions, feedback, etc. The decision is blatantly obvious…CFA was removed for political purposes. If Emory sticks to the storyline of unpopularity, they will lose major credibility and will be further positioned as spin doctors that are too arrogant to even draft a plausible PR campaign.

    Make no mistake – the activists don’t care about you.

    • Is there any particular “you” you’re addressing here? For example, if “you” means “Emory students” then the fact that the activists are themselves Emory students kind of complicates things. As for the incompetence of Emory PR, is that even in question at this point?

  14. “What we learned was that there was no great affinity or love for Chick-fil-A,” Furhman said. “It was more of an affinity or love of the convenience, and what students also told us was that they didn’t really love Chick-fil-A.”

    LIES!

    Everyone loves Chick-Fil-A.

    • Everyone loves Chick-Fil-A. Even campus vegetarians and vegans who already have a hard time finding nutritious dining options. Even those concerned about the impact the modern chicken industry is having on the environment. Even the sexual minorities on campus whose money goes to contributions to “Pray the Gay Away” foundations.

      Who’s lying, zappafrank?

  15. This is completely ridiculous. Forget the fact that cox hall has horrible food choices its lines are horribly long. The fact that this University is caving to the demands of the gay community with respect to what the student body gets to eat is outlandish. To then say that this is not political is absurd. Emory lost its back bone since the blowback from the 3/5ths and is now trying to quash as much bad press as possible. Allowing small factions of people to make large changes without considering the student body is incomprehensible.

    • “Allowing small factions of people to make large changes without considering the student body is incomprehensible.”

      By this, are you referring to the removal of a fast-food franchise from the dining hall , or the elimination of entire departments through secretive committees that didn’t involve any student consideration at all?

  16. God please heal this land! Your Word said it and it is all coming to pass. People talking about their rights while trampling on the rights of real Christians to be moral. Sick! Next I will get fired from a company in support of LGBT for being a Christian who will never conform to the lifestyle or support it.

  17. Bryce, C-F-A wasn’t as healthy as it could be so you replaced it with pizza, pasta and more Mexican food? Healthy options, yeah right! If the students wanted healthier choices why has C-F-A been able to keep up business? They could have walked to the other side of the food court for other grab-N-go options. It is simply about uninformed activist students being intolerant.

    So for you students protesting C-F-A you might want to educate yourself a little first. After all you are at a university.

    So how has Dan Cathy responded to such negative criticism he has received? By sitting down with gay activist Shale Windemeyer and talking openly about his pro-Bible marriage position.

    Windemeyer recalled the first phone call: “On Aug. 10, 2012, in the heat of the controversy, I got a surprise call from Dan Cathy. He had gotten my cell phone number from a mutual business contact serving campus groups. I took the call with great caution. He was going to tear me apart, right? Give me a piece of his mind? Turn his lawyers on me? Never once did Dan or anyone from Chick-fil-A ask for Campus Pride to stop protesting Chick-fil-A. On the contrary, Dan listened intently to our concerns and the real-life accounts from youth about the negative impact that Chick-fil-A was having on campus climate and safety at colleges across the country.”

    So how did Shane Windemeyer refer to Dan Cathy after the call? “respectful” and “civil.” So is this the kind of person who deserves your protests and intollerance?

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