Opinion

A staff divided: Chick-fil-A on campus

The Miami Hurricane’s Editorial Board met Sunday afternoon to discuss whether Chick-fil-A should be able to open a location on campus. By the end of the discussion, the Board was unable to reach a consensus. Although the 15 members in attendance unanimously agree on supporting LGBT rights – which include same-sex marriage, hospital visitation rights and adoption – we are divided about the situation at hand as it relates to the university.

As such, we have decided to publish two separate arguments for consideration by the student body, ensuring that no arbitrary tiebreaker was used. Responses and reactions are encouraged through letters to the editor at editor@themiamihurricane.com and comments left on themiamihurricane.com.

Company sells food, not beliefs:

Every company instills a set of core values.

Apple has been known to outsource children and pay them below minimum wage. And Chick-fil-A has recently been in the limelight for contributing more than $1 million to anti-LGBT organizations. However, they’re still in business, and doing relatively well.

You can’t begin to imagine all the businesses that support causes we may not believe in, but we don’t bother looking up the long list.

When you’re buying the latest iPhone, you’re not thinking about all the children Apple used to make the device, and when you’re at Dadeland Mall and want a chicken sandwich with a side of waffle fries, you’re not thinking of the anti-gay advocates benefiting from Chick-fil-A’s generous contributions. We buy what we want because we like it, not because we’re endorsing a specific company’s views.

The Miami Hurricane conducted a poll asking students about Chick-fil-A opening a location at UM. More than 70 students voted. 46 percent said yes, 39 percent said no, and 15 percent don’t care. This argument represents the 46 percent.

Chick-fil-A employs individuals who identify as LGBT. The restaurant doesn’t discriminate anyone from buying their food or serving it – they just have a belief they stand by. Nothing is wrong with that. We believe in same-sex marriage and all the rights associated with it. But we also believe in a democracy.

Individuals and companies can disclose their personal views as they please. Whoever has a problem with it can choose to disagree, but banning a restaurant on campus because of its belief is irrational.

Everyone needs to eat, but not everyone has to support gay rights. Students who don’t want to eat at Chick-fil-A don’t have to, but students who do shouldn’t be penalized for wanting to just because of its views.

If Chick-fil-A’s contributions to anti-gay organizations had not grabbed a spot in the primetime media months ago, people would’ve continued to purchase and thoroughly enjoy their order of waffle fries.

So, have your chicken, and eat it too.

Campus should take a stand:

As consumers, we have to pick our battles. The battle with Chick-fil-A is one worth fighting.

When we make everyday purchases, we don’t always know what other organizations eventually benefit. In fact, most of us are completely oblivious to where our dollars really end up.

But this is different. We know exactly where Chick-fil-A’s profits are headed – into the coffers of anti-LGBT groups. Though it was recently reported that Chick-fil-A has stopped donating to such groups, the truth is unclear because Chick-fil-A itself later denied those claims.

“Chick-fil-A made no such concessions, and we remain true to who we are and who we have been,” President Dan Cathy said in a statement.

With this knowledge, a decision to bring a Chick-fil-A location to campus would be unacceptable simply for the apathy it portrays.

Tuition money out of your wallets is being used by administration to hire Chartwells as the campus’ food provider. In turn, Chartwells works with third-party vendors, such as Wendy’s, Sushi Maki and possibly Chick-fil-A, to give students plenty of options.

Think of it this way: University funds would be passed through Chartwells, to Chick-fil-A and ultimately to anti-LGBT organizations that are in direct conflict with UM’s guiding principles.

The Core Values of the University of Miami, which is a section of the university’s mission statement, explicitly state that UM is committed to fostering in its students “the foundations for ethical citizenship and … a respect for differences among people …”

Yes, Chick-fil-A is a private company and therefore has the right to donate its profits to any cause it chooses. However, the university – also a private institution – has just as much freedom to take a stand against such a decision.

Their waffle fries are beyond, we know. But banning Chick-fil-A from campus will make a political statement worth more than your beloved eight-piece value meals.

September 30, 2012

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


12 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “A staff divided: Chick-fil-A on campus”

  1. Rosa says:

    I believe every citizen should have the right to marry whoever they want, adopt children if they want and so on. Have their freedom because that should be a personal desition, but then again not allowing “CFA” on campus is discrimination as well. We don’t want people to discriminate the LGBT, which really they should not be discriminated, but then it seems people end up discriminating the people who have a different view just because they expressed it. If their food is good, and they are giving UM a reasonable deal.. Why not?

  2. Lin says:

    I think this is a stupid argument. Yes, you are providing two sides of an opinion.

    This is a business and if you are going to not allow them on our campus because of a personal issue then PLEASE KICK OUT WENDY’S! Did you know they have HRC of 30 out of a possible 100?

    The fact that this campus already has businesses operating here that are not LGBT friendly makes this whole argument moot!

    Just saying.

  3. Steypa says:

    In the “against” argument it quoted the UM mission statement it said UM is “committed to fostering in its students” “the foundations for ethical citizenship and … a respect for differences among people …” Therefore it is a mission that the students respect the differences and free speech of the company. As a newspaper you should be able to respect different opinions and freedom of expression even if it’s a view you do not agree with.

    When this was first in the news and people were occupying chick-fil-a restaurants the CEO was more than accommodating and even offered protesters water because it was hot out. He valued free speech why can’t we? It’s part of what this country is founded on. The point can be portrayed through this quote “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” – E.B. Hall

    You say that “When we make everyday purchases, we don’t always know what other organizations eventually benefit. In fact, most of us are completely oblivious to where our dollars really end up. But this is different. We know exactly where Chick-fil-A’s profits are headed – into the coffers of anti-LGBT groups.”

    We all know that Walt Disney was an anti Semitic nazi sympathizer yet don’t tell me that you have a personal dilemma about going to disney world and protest others going there. The same applies with Henry Ford being a nazi sympathizer and producing materials for the germans (fun fact, hitler had a picture of ford on his desk) however you probably ride around in your Ford Fiesta without any qualms or shame. Same goes for Nike and its use of child labor.

    The restaurant said it stopped donating to these causes so now it’s just a belief.

    And if you hold on to your view, now that you know about Disney, Nike and Ford you know what organizations your money goes to benefit and you must abstain from giving money to these organizations since I might have popped your bubble of blissful ignorance.

    If you have a problem with the man for his beliefs, that’s fine, it’s your issue. But pushing your “anti-chick-fil-a beliefs on others is just as bad as what you say they’re doing.

    Respectfully

  4. Nick says:

    Keith where are you getting your statistics? I really don’t think they’re accurate.

    Allowing Chick-Fil-A to do what they’re doing is giving into corporate bullying.
    Anti-LGBT views are regressive for society, period.
    To ignore the aid that companies like Chck-fil-A give to discriminatory hate groups is counter-productive.

  5. Shaun says:

    Keith,

    You say “Only $1000 each was donated to FRC and Exodus”. It does not matter if Only $1 was donated to such groups. Its still a donation to a known hate group. Chick-fil-A and WinShape are supporters of anti-gay hate.

  6. Keith says:

    Here are the core values of Chick-fil-A:

    As stated in the “CFA: Who We Are” document, Chick-fil-A has donated over $68 million over the past several years to support three primary priorities. These have long been and will remain the priorities of Chick-fil-A and WinShape – they include:

    1. Educating Youth

    2. Strengthening Families and Enriching Marriages

    3. Supporting our Communities

  7. Scot Evans says:

    Kudos to the staff and editors of the Hurricane for their balanced approach to covering the Chik-fil-A story. I appreciate the two opinions offered on the issue with the acknowledgement of how divided your staff was on the topic. It is important for students, faculty, and staff to read the two positions and hold each long enough to see what fits. In the words of Aristotle, “it is the mark of an educated mind to entertain a thought without accepting it.” However, the issue here is not really about personal consumer choices or whether or not corporations should be able to donate money to whatever cause they want. The issue of brining Chik-fil-A to campus is an institutional or organizational decision that should be based in the core values of the organization. While people are free to buy or eat whatever they wish, if an organization like UM makes decisions without regard to the values they say are so important, then the entire mission and set of core values are meaningless.

  8. Jordan says:

    Chick-Fill-A donates to the Family Research Council, which not only lobbies against same-sex marriage, but against the rights of same-sex couples to adopt, oppose anti-discrimination laws, and attack their behavior. FRC President Tony Perkins said this (of LGBT people):
    “They are intolerant. They are hateful. They are vile. They are spiteful…pawns of the enemy.”
    In addition, the FRC lobbied against a resolution condemning the “Kill the Gays” bill in Uganda. They are considered a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Chick-Fil-A’s charitable arm, Winshape, donated almost 2 million dollars to anti-gay groups, in 2010 alone. The marriage counseling techniques that the FRC supports is extremely harmful and doesn’t work. Should we support Chick-Fil-A? You can make that decision.

  9. Ishtpreet says:

    Specifically in the case of the University of Miami, I stand against establishing a “Chick-fil-A” here on campus. Sure, people who want to eat at the restaurant should absolutely be able to (only a metro ride away) and the company does possess the right to remain open and possibly successful, but as long as the University remains a private institution with the values it holds (which conflict directly with the business’s principles), money from student tuition (from many students who do not agree with Chick-fil-A’s stance on anti-gay laws) should not be funneled towards starting up and maintaining a franchise that would also create unnecessary political tension and could perhaps affect student enrollment and education quality. I am all for creating a fair atmosphere for debate and an environment that encourages creative and constructive discussion, but perhaps there are better options more well-suited to a private college campus and ones that would satisfy everyone in this matter (as well as vegetarians).

  10. Jordan says:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/08/01/1115751/-What-really-makes-the-gays-mad-about-Chick-fil-A. If you still think that this is about just marriage or that the FRC is anything but a hate group, you need to seriously re-evaluate your priorities. The Family Research Council lobbied Congress against a resolution condemning the “kill the gays” bill in Uganda.

  11. Keith says:

    Liberal Democratic President Bill Clinton, along with both houses of congress in 1996, voted and signed into law the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) defining marriage as the union between one man and one woman.

    President Barack Obama affirmed the same when running for Senator in 2004 when he stated, “I’m Christian. I do believe that tradition and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman.” Later, he reaffirmed the same belief in 2006, and when running for president in 2008.

    In fact, all US Presidents throughout the history of our nation held the same belief about marriage. I guess that means they would be labeled as anti-LGBT and unwelcome at UM.

  12. Keith says:

    There is a lot of misinformation and exaggeration about Chick-fil-A’s
    donations to anti-LGBT organizations. Only $1000 each was donated to FRC and Exodus, and not millions as has been reported by some publications.

    The truth is that millions were donated by CFA to pro-marriage groups who are committed to saving marriages in crisis through counseling and conflict resolution. These organizations are pro-marriage; not anti-gay. There is a difference. Respectfully.

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.