Haven protests Chick-fil-A
Published: Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, March 15, 2011 03:03
Senior Sabrina Ali used to eat at Chick-fil-A once or twice a week, but after learning about the company's donations to groups that oppose gay marriage, she kicked her waffle fry habit for good.
"I just don't want my money being spent on a cause I don't support," Ali said.
Ali was one of a few dozen students who signed Haven's petition against the company last week, part of a growing trend of anti-Chick-fil-A sentiment on college campuses.
The university's student-run LGBT organization held its protest March 8 and March 10 at a kiosk in the Trabant University Center, just yards away from the on-campus location of the national chicken chain.
From a table adorned with a gay pride flag and signs reading "Eat Less Chikin"—a reference to the restaurant's popular ads featuring a cow holding "Eat Mor Chikin" signs—Haven members asked students to sign a petition promising not to patronize Chick-fil-A.
"Basically, Chick-fil-A is very sympathetic to homophobic causes, and we're asking people to stop eating there because of those causes," said junior Colleen Dougherty, director of major programming for Haven.
Founded on Christian principles, Chick-fil-A has long donated to religious-based scholarship funds and groups that oppose gay marriage. Opponents of the chain also accuse its WinShape Foundation of excluding same-sex couples from marriage retreats it sponsors.
The latest round of criticism was sparked in January when a Chick-fil-A in Harrisburg, Pa. donated food to a conference supporting traditional marriage.
Protests against the company have been held at several college campuses, and the restaurant was briefly suspended from Indiana University at South Bend.
Company officials would not agree to an interview, but Dan Cathy, president of Chick-fil-A, released a statement saying the company has no agenda against anyone.
"At the heart and soul of our company, we are a family business that serves and values all people regardless of their beliefs or opinions," Cathy said. "We seek to treat everyone with honor, dignity and respect, and believe in the importance of loving your neighbor as yourself."
Aramark, the company that operates the university's dining facilities, said in a statement "We respect the diverse backgrounds, styles, values and beliefs of our customers, clients and employees."
However, that was not enough to convince students signing the petition last week.
"While Chick-fil-A itself doesn't necessarily put ‘We hate gays' on its sandwiches or outright associate itself with anti-gay sentiments, it does need to be careful about who it supports," said junior Maggie Coleman, who noted that, as a vegetarian, she already does not eat at the restaurant.
Ali said it bothers her that the company is on campus.
"I think it's really unfair there's a company out there, especially in Trabant, that will give my money to organizations that don't support same-sex marriage," she said.
Students at several other universities have called for Chick-fil-A to be removed from campus, but Haven's petition stopped short of that, instead simply calling for students to boycott the eatery.
"We don't feel such a radical approach is necessary at Delaware," said senior Dan Cole, president of Haven.
Still, Dougherty left open the possibility of calling for the restaurant's removal.
"Right now, that's not what we're trying to do, but that could change," she said. "We're basically waiting to see what the campus outlook on it would be."
Cole said the petition drew limited interest—approximately 40 signatures—but he still considered the effort a success.
"Still, that's 40 people who won't eat at Chick-fil-A," he said.