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


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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.