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Fordham University rejects proposal to open Chick-fil-A after queer students complain

The Catholic institution Fordham University has rejected a proposal to open Chick-fil-A on campus after students at the New York City-based college voiced concerns that the restaurant chain is anti-gay.

The concerns were voiced by the United Student Government, the Commuter Students Association, the Residence Hall Association and the Rainbow Alliance, according to the Fordham Observer.

None of these groups responded to email or Facebook messages from The College Fix.

In comments to the Observer, Rainbow Alliance co-president Roberta Munoz said rejecting the proposal does not mean the university is fully tolerant of the LGBTQ community.

“This is something that I don’t want to congratulate Fordham for, like ‘Oh my god, I’m so glad that you can see this. You’re such a good person,’” she said. “I don’t want to pat them on the back. You can’t say ‘Oh you’re such a great ally’ when there’s still so many issues with our queer students. Like great, love it, but keep going.”

Concern that the Chick-fil-A menu options are too narrow was also reportedly a factor.

Controversy has followed the fast-food chicken chain after its owners expressed a view against same-sex marriage stemming from Christian beliefs. Despite this controversy, Chick-fil-A’s locations in the New York City area have done well.

At Fordham, the chain offered to collaboratively run programming with the Rainbow Alliance, though the group still worked against the proposal, the Observer reports.

Proposals for Chick-Fil-A have similarly this year caused concern at Duquesne University, a Catholic college in Pittsburgh, and Johns Hopkins University, in 2015.

The student newspaper spoke of several students who “independently reached out to USG to voice their concerns,” but not all students were happy with the decision to reject the food chain.

Ann Murphy, a 2015 graduate from the Bronx Rose Hill campus, and a current law student at Lincoln Center, spoke to The College Fix over Facebook.

She expressed being “disappointed” to hear that the campus would not welcome the chain because of the CEO’s views.

“I’m very troubled by trends at colleges across America, where conservative views are silenced and shut down in both direct and indirect ways. I fear that these culture war boycotts are particularly polarizing,” Murphy said, also pointing out that as “a Jesuit school, Fordham should seek to challenge students to engage with, consider, respect, and be tolerant of all beliefs—especially those rooted in religious reasons.”

At the time of reporting, there were no alternative plans to open a national chain at the Ram Café, according to Dining Services Contract Liaison Deming Yaun, who spoke to the Fordham Observer.

Fordham University has consistently been ranked among the worst of college food lists, according to several sources. In spring 2011, dining services on the Rose Hill campus failed state health inspections, getting the lowest grade possible, a “C.” The university is also lacking in outside vendors, with the Rose Hill campus not opening one until a Cosi in 2013.

MORE: Chick-fil-A rejected for Johns Hopkins Univ., eatery called ‘microaggression’

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About the Author
Rebecca Downs -- Regent University's Robertson School of Government