By Theresa Evans
Chick-fil-A responded to Rider’s recent decision to remove the fast food chain from a student survey, that would result in bringing a new restaurant to campus, in a statement to The Associated Press.
“Rider University’s survey was recently brought to our attention, and while we respect the University’s decision, this news story represents a good opportunity to clarify misperceptions about our brand,” said one of Chick-fil-A’s attorneys in the statement. “Chick-fil-A is a restaurant company focused on food, service and hospitality, and our restaurants and licensed locations on college campuses welcome everyone. We have no policy of discrimination against any group, and we do not have a political or social agenda. More than 120,000 people from different backgrounds and beliefs represent the Chick-fil-A brand.”
In a 2012 interview with the Biblical Recorder, Dan Cathy, the current CEO of Chick-fil-A stated that he supports “the biblical definition of the family unit.”
Chick-fil-A did not respond in time of publication in response to The Rider News’ questions about its claim that they do not discriminate against the LGBTQ+ community.
Northeastern University’s student government senate voted against having Chick-fil-A on its campus in 2012, following Cathy’s interview with the Biblical Recorder, according to the Massachusetts Family Institute.
Following the 2012 interview, other universities including New York University and Johns Hopkins University voted to ban or remove the restaurant chain from their campuses.
Rider’s Student Government Association (SGA) was not involved with the decision to remove Chick-fil-A from the survey, according to president Olivia Barone.
“Members of SGA sat on the food committee to help discuss options,” she said. “We were also updated on some of the overall progresses of the new dining system and services at a couple senate meetings. We were not involved in the final decision but as representatives, we continue to believe that students should remain a part of campus dialogue.”
“As advocates for the Rider student experience, SGA appreciates being a part of decisions, big and small, that affect students’ daily lives,” said Barone.
When asked to comment about Chick-fil-A’s response to Rider’s decision, Leanna Fenneberg, vice president for student affairs, declined further comment, but directed The Rider News to a Nov. 23 letter from President Gregory Dell’Omo.
“Ultimately, we decided to lean in the direction of creating a welcoming environment where differences can be appreciated and where each individual can expect to experience dignity and respect,” Dell’Omo said in the letter. “We understand that some may view the decision as being just another form of exclusion. We want to be clear that this was not the spirit in which the decision was made. We fully acknowledge an organization’s right to hold these beliefs, just as we acknowledge the right for individuals in our community and elsewhere to also personally hold the same beliefs.”