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Chick-fil-A opening at Purdue U. irritates gay student body president, faculty. But over 3,000 petition signers see things a little differently.

Restaurant is set to open on campus in fall 2020

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

Purdue University is set to bring a Chick-fil-A restaurant to campus in fall 2020 as part of a new residence hall.

It's a move students have wanted "for a long, long, long, long time," Rob Wynkoop, the school's director of service enterprises, told the Lafayette Journal & Courier. "Student body presidents and their cabinets have actually run on that platform, to bring [Chick-fil-A] to campus."

But don't put the school's new student body president in that group.

Jo Boileau noted to the paper that "as an openly gay student," the Chick-fil-A opening "is something I'm confronting on a daily basis, in conversations I'm having every single day with students on this campus."

According to the Journal & Courier, Boileau wondered if Purdue could give back millions of dollars from Papa John's founder John Schnatter in 2018 because of racist remarks, what message is the school sending to the LGBTQ community by opening a Chick-fil-A on campus?

What's the background?

The left has targeted Chick-fil-A for years due to ownership's pro-traditional family and Christian views — which opponents have incorrectly equated to an anti-gay stance. Not surprisingly, Chick-fil-A also has gotten pushback from left-wing faculty and students on numerous college campuses.

It's no different at Purdue: The school's faculty is expected to vote on a measure in October to pressure the administration to make sure that commercial ventures on campus "uphold the same values and promote inclusivity with their policies, hiring practices and actions," the Journal & Courier said.

With regard to Chick-fil-A coming to campus, Linda Prokopy — a professor and member of the University Senate's Equity and Diversity Committee — told the paper "there are students, there are staff, and there are faculty on this campus who are hurting by a decision made by this university."

Chick-fil-A representatives did not immediately respond to questions Monday about the issue, the paper reported.

Can 3,000-plus Chick-fil-A fans be wrong?

In stark contrast to Purdue's faculty and its new student body president, students in 2018 started a petition at Change.org titled, "Purdue Needs a Chick-fil-A," the Journal & Courier said. As of Thursday morning, 3,456 folks have signed it.

Student Riley Johnson, who signed the petition, told the paper that Chick-fil-A's "stances do not cross my mind when I go there or affect my eating habits. I personally believe a private company should have the freedom to take a political or religious stance if they choose. If people don't agree with it, then they don't have to eat there. That is their choice."

David Bergsma also signed the petition and told the Journal & Courier he was in a room with other students when the "exciting" news of Chick-fil-A coming to campus was announced.

"The general response was cheering and gratitude — gratitude that Purdue actually saw the petition and listened to us," Bergsma added to the paper. "I think the number of people trying to keep Chick-fil-A off our campus because of their political stances is a small minority. Most students couldn't care less; we just want the amazing food they have."

One last thing…
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