Emory University in Atlanta, Ga., has decided to remove Chick-fil-A from the campus food court. This development comes after the university’s gay and lesbian community intensely protested the restaurant’s presence in the wake of CEO Dan Cathy’s comments last year about same-sex marriage.
A recent tweet sent from the Emory Wheel’s official account (an independent student newspaper on campus) confirms that Chick-fil-A will no longer be a part of the campus’ fast-food offerings. The outlet’s message read, “Chick-fil-a to be removed from Cox Hall this Summer as part of FACE’s new Cox Hall layout.”
The brief comment does not cite the anti-gay controversy as the reasoning for the restaurant’s removal.
The university’s motivation is unclear, but it’s no secret that gay advocates have placed intense pressure on Emory’s leadership over the past six months. While it can’t be definitively stated that the university is bowing to the pressure, that’s the assumption being made by many left-of-center outlets.
Here’s how ThinkProgress broke down the happenings:
Since the full extent of Chick-fi-A’s anti-gay beliefs and giving fully came to light last summer, student leaders protested the continued presence of a franchise in the campus’s food court. In December, even the Student Government Association passed a resolution opposing Chick-fil-A. Ultimately, campus administrators issued a thoughtful statement acknowledging the stigma attached to the company, but explaining it was not grounds to cancel the contract. The students vowed not to back down, and now it seems Chick-fil-A will not be coming back to campus next year.
Considering the discussion surrounding Chick-fil-A’s removal (Pizza Hut is being nixed as well), Michael Sacks, co-chair of the Food Advisory Committee at the school, claims that politics wasn’t at the heart of the matter.
“A chicken sandwich isn’t very popular, so we want to do a burger place,” Sacks said in an interview with Talk WSB. ”It’s kind of unfortunate that people very easily jump to the conclusion that Chick-fil-A’s political views were the reason we got rid of them, but that was not our intention at all.”
While certainly not the first university to come under pressure, Emory is, most notably, the most recent to expel the restaurant (again, we’re not sure politics was the reason). Regardless of Emory’s reasoning for removing Chick-fil-A, ThinkProgress calls the event a “victory” for gay and lesbian students — a conclusion that many free-speech advocates are likely to reject.
(H/T: Huffington Post)
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