Our Opinion: Chick-fil-A Must Go

Chick-fil-A President and COO Dan Cathy made national headlines this past July when he expressed his views on same-sex marriage. In an interview on “The Ken Coleman Show,” a independently-syndicated talk radio show, Cathy said “I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, ‘we know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.’” He continued by stating, “I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.”

Almost immediately, Cathy’s comments sparked a whirlwind of controversy about the implications of his statements with respect to the official stance of his company. While the personal beliefs of a company’s president do not necessarily reflect those of the rest of the company, Cathy’s statement has prompted many LGBT or pro-LGBT individuals to boycott Chick-fil-A and its infamous chicken products. Many have also expressed support for Chick-fil-A, notably former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee who called for a Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.

The controversy brings Emory into the picture since the Chick-fil-A located in the Cox Hall Food Court was the first to open on a college campus. Emory has been recognized as one of the most LGBT-friendly universities in the southeast, and there has been much uproar within Emory’s LGBT community in response to Cathy’s comments. The University released a statement in August asserting that, “recent public statements by Dan Cathy, president of Chick-fil-A, do not reflect Emory’s values as an institution…Emory therefore respects the right of people to express their disagreement with Mr. Cathy by not patronizing Chick-fil-A.”

Unfortunately, Emory’s statement does little to address the big question: what’s going to happen to our Chick-fil-A? We at The Emory Wheel recommend that Emory replace the Chick-fil-A in the Cox Hall Food Court with another restaurant that doesn’t alienate segments of the student body.

While we understand that Cathy’s anti-LGBT statements do not necessarily represent the views of the rest of the company or of our particular franchise, we must also believe that the Chick-fil-A brand has become a point of much discontent for members of the Emory community. It is neither Cathy’s place, nor that of any other company president, to make proclamations about personal religious beliefs in public and, as a result of his actions, the brand  is now associated with anti-LGBT beliefs. The restaurant’s presence on campus has become a symbol of homophobia and stands in direct conflict with Emory’s stated vision of being an “inquiry-driven, ethically engaged, and diverse community.”

Emory’s LGBT community is an active one and has already begun calling for Chick-fil-A’s removal. Letters have been written to key administrators and fliers have begun appearing around campus declaring, “Make Chicken, Not Judgements” and, “Don’t eat at Chick-fil-A, Don’t support hate groups.” If Emory University is truly the caring and ethically engaged institution that it claims to be, it will understand its obligation to the student community to remove this symbol of homophobia from campus.

Emory’s actions will set the precedent for other college campuses struggling with this issue and, once again, the University is being called upon to be a leader among its peers. We must also keep in mind that Chick-fil-A is contracted through Sodexo and cannot directly remove the chain from campus. But given that Emory contracts Sodexo, certainly the administration can apply considerable pressure.

To those students for whom the loss of chicken sandwiches and waffle fries will be too much to bear, we offer the consolation they may take in the knowledge that their sacrifice has enabled the carriage of justice on campus.

  • M Smith

    so now we are a school that if you don’t share our opinions, then you can’t be a part of us? everyone has different beliefs and we must be a university that understands this, and can get along knowing we all have different beliefs.

    • Trevor

      Really dude? What if I have a belief that all Asian people should die in car fires? Does that make my opinion a legitimate opinion to be discussed on Emory campus?

      No, it doesn’t. Chick-Fil-A is allowed to say whatever the hell it wants. However, as a student who identifies as LGBT, I find it offensive and wrong that Emory still allows Chick-Fil-A on campus. Emory says it is devoted to making a place where LGBT can feel safe and accepted and having Chick-Fil-A on campus is acting against that.

      There is a difference between allowing differing opinions on campus, and allowing opinions that want to shut down a minority group struggling to gain equal rights. Chick-Fil-A donated to Exodus International, a group that works in gay conversion therapy. They have been known to use electroshock therapy on minors. Chick-Fil-A’s philanthropic arm has donated to groups that promote and fund groups in Africa who want to make homosexuality punishable by death.

      No, the matter of Chick-Fil-A does not boil down to “we should tolerate all differing opinions.” Some opinions and actions should NEVER be tolerated. The systematic oppression of a minority should not be accepted, especially at Emory.

  • Eric Jay

    We respect the rights of individuals to hold differing viewpoints and beliefs, but the fact of the matter is that the company Chick-Fil-A financially supports and contributes to the anti-LGBT movement. Just as that company chooses to act on its beliefs, we as the Emory student body will choose to act on ours by not patronizing this food establishment and will continue efforts to remove them from our campus.

  • Sunjir

    That’s odd. I don’t recall the Wheel Editorial Staff calling out Candidate Obama in 2008 when he stated that marriage is defined as a “union between one man and one woman” and was sanctioned “by God.” Here’s the video in case you forgot: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJhQBZ1La0w. Was Candidate Obama a hater and “homophobic”? Was Candidate Obama “uncaring” not “ethically engaged”? Perhaps “hypocrite” and “opportunist” are more apt descriptions.

    • Trevor

      Did he support civil unions? Did he stop defending DOMA? Did he sign anti-bullying laws that protect gay people? Were the alternative candidates more ethically engaged? Were they in favor of such laws? Or would they have done more to roll back gay rights?

      What’s your point here really? And the editorial staff from 4 years ago aren’t the students who run the newspaper. You can’t expect a student-run newspaper to continually have the same ideologic view points. This post isn’t about Obama. It’s about Chick-Fil-A on campus.

      You sir, are a dumbass.

      • Sunjir

        Hummm. If that’s the best you can do, you must be one of the students dragging down Emory’s SAT scores. I suppose the Admissions Office can only do so much ….

        Anyway, the truth is that until 4 months ago, your President’s view of gay marriage was very similar to Dan Cathy’s. Obama clearly said that marriage is defined as a union between one man and one woman and is ordained by God. Do you consider that to be “hate speech”? Or, to bring the issue back to Chick fil A, do you think that Obama would support your position on banning Chick fil A from campus? Why don’t you see if you can get Obama’s campaign to support your efforts. Good luck with that.

        And DOMA? How funny you should bring that up. The last Democrat president, Bill Clinton, signed DOMA into law. Here’s what he had to say at the time: “I have long opposed governmental recognition of same-gender marriages and this legislation is consistent with that position.” Of course, we all know that Clinton is a liar and was disbarred for lying. So, where he really stands on this issue, who knows? What he says today is no more credible than him telling Monica Lewinsky that he “loved her and respected her.”

        • Trevor

          Really? You think politicians views and political party’s platforms stay static throughout history? DOMA was passed nearly 2 decades ago. America’s values and the democratic party’s platform is allowed to change. What Obama did with his views on gay marriage was playing the game of politics. All politicians do it, and I’m just glad that he is in favor of it now. The other guy isn’t.

          Also, you’re trying to discredit a politician because he lied. They all lie. We know this. Pegging one for lying more than the other is silly.

          So yes, you’re argument that Obama is an opportunist is correct, but that is politics. Every single politician does it. To act like it that’s not the norm is fooling yourself.

          Currently, I’m just happy the democratic party and Obama support marriage equality. Obama has proven that he is for supporting the gay community even before his change on the stance of gay marriage. I’ve told you that before. I’ll judge him on his actions, rather than his speech. Because as you’ve stated, we can’t take a politician’s word as truth.

          And you’re little jab at the admissions office and me was… cute at best? If SAT scores are everything, why aren’t you at HYPS?

    • Jamie

      Sunjir: Okay, now we know what your views are about Obama. What about the editorial above, which (“in case you forgot”) is about having Chick-Fil-A on campus and never once refers to Obama?

  • Sunjir

    Trev, you’re missing the point.

    You supported Obama in the last election, notwithstanding the fact that he professed to be a Christian who believed that marriage was a sacred union between and man and a woman that was ordained by God. And, you have supported Obama, notwithstanding the fact that he held those beliefs until very recently. However, when it comes to Dan Cathy, you find those same beliefs so noxious that you consider them to be “hate speech” and homophobic and so horrible that Chick fil A must be kicked off campus. The cognitive dissonance must be excruciating for you.

    As for my “dig,” well, when you call someone a “dumbass,” you should expect a response of some sort. My response was hunch, but appears to have been correct. But don’t feel bad about that. Somebody has to pay full tuition at Emory. Frankly, you should be paying me for the lesson you are getting.

    • DHA

      So… what is your point?

      You’re lampooning the Wheel, then Obama, and then you seem to be for same-sex marriage, but you don’t actually make a stance. And there’s some ad hominem thrown in there for fun (the SAT and Admissions comment were quite funny, I’ll give you that). Judging from how you talk about Obama, you’re either a Republican or just not American. And the way you wrote Christian into that sentence also tells me you might not be a Christian (which is fine, neither am I). I get the feeling you’re just here for trouble. To kick up some dust and watch the frenzy with a bag of popcorn. God knows I do love doing that on the internet.

      But back on track:

      My point is that you’re unclear at best; Dodging the real issue at hand at the worst. What’s yours?

    • Trevor

      The difference is Sunjir, Obama never donated money to groups that supported torturous gay conversion therapies and the killing of homosexuals in Africa. Dan Cathy isn’t just against gay marriage. He is against the whole LGBT community as a whole. That’s my point. Obama has done things that support the LGBT community even when he still have the “my views are evolving” stance. That is the key difference between when Dan Cathy says he supports traditional marriage and when Obama said he did.

  • EmoryParent

    Cathy’s statements DO represent the company. It is privately owned by Cathy. Additionally, the corporation is making significant contributions to organizations that discriminate against the LGBT community. There is not way to get away from the fact that when you purchase a sandwich at CFA some of your money will go directly to discriminate. That is wrong. And no amount of personal rationalization will wash away the guilt anyone who eats there shares. If you buy CFA, you are actively engaging in assisting in discrimination. And this is not the same as someone taking their salary and donating to such causes. This is CORPORATE money. Emory should NOT have such an organization located on its campus while such corporate behavior continues. Franchises pay corporate with the money they get from the students. This is a no-brainer. Put a Popeyes or KFC if student need good chicken sandwiches. Its time for Chick-fil-A to go!

  • thisistofunnyagain

    I think we need to build some concentration camps on campus…that way we can use the ovens from CFA in a meaningful and productive way.