Students At Emory Want Chick-Fil-A To Get The Cluck Off Campus

LGBT student groups at Emory University are asking administrators to end the school’s “contractual relationship” with Chick-fil-A, which has been linked with anti-gay groups like Focus on the Family and Exodus International.

“This company has long been a concern for LGBT students, faculty, and alumni because of its anti-gay ideology and activities,” reads the letter, presented to Emory President James Wagner on Monday. “What was merely a source of anxiety on campus in recent years has now escalated into an ideologically potent symbol of discrimination and inequality.”

Back in August a group of gay alumni sent letters requesting Emory, ranked one of the 25 best schools for LGBT students by Campus Pride, sever its ties to the chain. While school officials affirmed their commitment to diversity, they denied the request: “Freedom of expression and an open exchange of ideas are also central tenets of the Emory community,” said Dean of Campus Life Dr. Ajay Nair at the time. “Emory therefore respects the right of people to express their disagreement with Mr. Cathy by not patronizing Chick-fil-A.”

Below is the full text of the new letter, dated October 2:

October 2, 2012

Dr. James W. Wagner
Office of the President
Emory University

Dr. Ajay Nair
Office of the Senior Vice President
Emory University

Dear President Wagner and Vice President Nair:

On behalf of the LGBT community of Emory University, we formally and respectfully request that the administration end its relationship with Chick-fil-A (CFA) and the Winshape Foundation without delay. This company has long been a concern for LGBT students, faculty, and alumni because of its anti-gay ideology and activities. What was merely a source of anxiety on campus in recent years has now escalated into an ideologically potent symbol of discrimination and inequality.

CFA and its owners have channeled vast sums of money into organizations that disseminate lies about the gay community and promote various “corrective therapies” repudiated by the medical establishment, including the American Psychological Association. One such organization, the Family Research Council, has been classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group. We believe that CFA’s longstanding support for base discrimination against LGBT persons clashes profoundly with Emory’s core values of inclusion and respect for all members of its community. We affirm Dean Nair’s August statement that “Emory University has a long history of creating access, inclusion, and equity for Emory’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer students, faculty, staff and alumni,” and that Cathy’s statements “do not reflect Emory’s values as an institution.”

It is our conviction, therefore, that such a contradiction now impels us to act.

CFA not only resides on our campus, it caters our events, sponsors numerous student activities, and hosts school orientations via Winshape. For several years now, concerned students aware of CFA’s anti-gay activities have avoided doing business with CFA because of conscience. However, we are still placed in compromising situations when our clubs, teams, and organizations use university dollars to be catered by, and in some cases meet at CFA. All of this has been further exacerbated by the aggressive “guilty as charged” admission in July by CFA president, Dan Cathy, condemning our pursuit of equality as prideful, arrogant, audacious, and godless. Shortly after these public statements were made, the well-publicized events of August 1st solidified CFA as a definitive symbol and rallying point for anti-gay sentiment.

We unequivocally support CFA’s right to voice its opinions emanating from conscience and religious conviction. As students of law, we zealously guard our nation’s constitutional freedom of thought; as students of business, we deeply value the free market and the ability of American entrepreneurs to build their own businesses; and, as students of theology, we respect the sacred right of every person to testify to the divine in public and in private.

CFA has availed itself of these rights, and has chosen to join with the voices of discrimination, bigotry, and fear. Emory, as a private institution, likewise has the right to speak out and the freedom to choose. Shall we not use our voice to defy the forces of hate in our society?

We in no way question the motives of CFA consumers or employees at Emory. However, we who have been maligned by the behavior of this company will continue to feel victimized by this intrusive symbol pervading our campus. To some, it is merely fast food. To us, it is a reminder that even though we have “safe spaces” for our LGBT community, we have yet to achieve the “safe campus” we hope for.

Emory’s recent ranking in the top 25 of LGBT-inclusive universities makes us proud and gives us hope. It has been and continues to be a community effort. We are setting the pace and forging a template for universities nationwide to follow. Let us not stop now. Our integrity depends on it.

Becoming an inclusive organization of any kind takes moral courage and hard work. Is it too great a task for us to reward a vendor that has demonstrated these characteristics in addition to providing a great product? Surely not! Therefore, we implore this administration to take action now and end its contractual relationship with CFA.

Sacred Worth (Candler School of Theology)
Mayjean Deem – President

Emory OUTLaw (Emory Law School)
Timothy Wilson – President

Goizueta Pride Alliance (Goizueta Business School)
Daniel Jensen – President

Emory Pride (Emory College)
Shu Wen Ong and Dohyun Ahn – Co-Presidents

Emory Medical Alliance (School of Medicine)
Jennifer Whitehead – President

Oxford Pride (Oxford College)
James Crowe and Rand Gilbert – Co-Presidents

Laney Pride Alliance (Laney Graduate School)
Seth Koening – Coordinator


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  • Cam

    Countdown to all the “Fake Gays” to come on here and claim that gays are evil bullies and bigots are just our poor helpless victims.

  • MK Ultra

    A campus is a place for learning and education.
    Kinda the opposite of Shit fill A’s atmosphere of ” duh, me a kris-chan”
    I mean, didn’t shit fil A ‘s top clucker drop the pearl of wisdom last week, saying he supports “biblical families”, clearly not knowing what that means or hoping his dumbass customers don’t.
    I say, good for these students.
    Hopefully it will prompt Cathy to open his mouth more. The more that man talks, the better it is for us.

  • Avenger

    Just don’t eat there if you have a problem with what they do.

  • GreatGatsby2011

    I suppose it may not be a popular opinion, but I personally believe there’s a fine line between saying “I find your spending practices to be reprehensible. I will therefore not be supporting your business with my hard earned dollars and telling everyone I know who cares about me as a person about your spending policies so they will not unwittingly support ideologies in which they don’t believe. I will also be spreading awareness of your spending policies so that even people who don’t know or care about me as a person are fully aware of what their money is supporting when they patronize your establishment.” and saying “You and your kind aren’t welcome around here.” And it’s a line I won’t cross. I wouldn’t categorize crossing that line as “unethical” (I don’t believe I have the moral authority to determine what is or is not ethical) just personally distasteful and not in line with my personal ideologies.

    So there have my less-than-popular opinion. Feel free to dissent.

  • 2eo

    Democracy. When the bigots campaign for marriage equality it is democratic.

    When people stand up and say “get stuffed” it is evil gay muslim house prices obamacare socialist fascist lesbian taxgremlins.

  • Cam


    At what point would you not cross that line? If the KKK was going to open a store on your campus would you let the campus know you did not feel comfortable with them having a business there?

    If a group that advocated rape victims must marry their rapists opened a store would you support them?

    Remember, Chik Fil Et was supporting groups that were instrumental in supporting the bill in Uganda that would have legalized killing somebody for being gay. Emory is a private school and these kids are paying a LOT of money to go there.

  • EngiNerd


    Discrimination is just wrong. There is no ethical, logical, or legal argument for justifying discrimination. Chick-fil-a is providing money to discriminatory organizations thus the company is discriminating. No one should be able to argue otherwise. It’s the company’s social responsibility to ensure that its money is going towards just or legitimate causes. They have crossed the line and something should be done about.

    That being said I think everyone should have the right to their own opinion. Those who do not support marriage equality are not inherently discriminating. Those who actively try to diminish the rights of the LGBT community are!

    I don’t think Emory being a private school justifies the right of students to remove companies off campus. Private schools just have different rules. Emory has a very diverse culture (all encompassing) and aims to maintain that diversity. Emory also aims to ensure the happiness and success of all students regardless of their culture. When a particular culture/idea is targeted, repressed, etc. students, employees, and administration at Emory mobilize and act because they know they can and that they have the support of the Emory community to voice their opinion.

  • GreatGatsby2011

    @Cam: I would never cross that line, as stated above. If a member of the KKK wanted to open a business, and they chose to use the money made by said business to fund organizations in line with their philosophy, then I would choose not to patronize that establishment and I would raise awareness so that others would boycott the business as well. But I certainly would not tell the KKK member that they couldn’t open a business because the business owner would choose to spend the profit in line with his/her ideology, no matter how reprehensible I find that ideology to be.

    Same goes with your other example.

  • hyhybt

    “Contractual obligation” is probably a key phrase to remember. Breaking a contract is expensive. Not wanting to do so doesn’t mean they won’t go with someone else when it runs out.

  • erasure25

    @GreatGatsby2011: Why is this confusing to you. The students are doing exactly what you are saying. The student leaders, who by the way are elected student body representatives, are telling the Administration they don’t want their money, their tuition dollars, to support CFA, which supports known hate groups. They are exercising their rights to not financially support CFA with their money.

    Why do you seem to focus so much on the rights of CFA but refuse to give those same rights to the students?

  • JOHN 1957

    For goodness sake will someone kill that chicken already! Yes the company should be removed if and when it insights hate towards any given group of people. It’s a thin line between freedom of speech and defamation that could incite violence towards any particular person(s), then it becomes a hate crime. This I know because I’ve taken neighbors to a public hearing with a mediator for calling my partner and myself faggots and having others join them in the neighborhood. I will not be bullied and heaven help anybody who would try to hurt my spouse though he was 6 ft 2 and was in the Air Force, I’m a native New Yorker and I would have to duct tape a grenade to their front door if anything happened to him because of their bigotry and this I said in front of a lawyer. It’s strange how we can let things slide off our back when it’s said about us, but when it comes to a loved one we can become worst than a rabid grisly bear in less that a second. These anti-gay and hate organizations should devout their time and money to helping the hungry, the sick, the homeless and the list can go on and on for miles. Talk about using God’s name in vain.

    We can’t reason with these hate groups, we can’t speak with them intelligently and they’re not willing to even try. Their obsessed and possessed with doing harm and destroying lives. They start with one group of people then go to another and then another, for different reasons in their twisted sick little heads they are the chosen ones, for what dam if we know. It’s time the tables turn on them.

  • GreatGatsby2011

    @erasure25: Actually no. It’s not the same thing at all. If the students don’t want their tuition dollars going to CFA, they should go to a school that does not have a CFA on campus. Giving someone your money and then saying “Okay I’ve given you my money so now you have to run the school the way I tell you to” is in no way “boycotting” so I have no idea how you could even draw that parallel. The moment you give your money to the college it becomes their money to do with as they see fit. If you don’t like the way they are spending the money you give to them, don’t give them any more money.

    And I care about every

  • GreatGatsby2011

    Stupid enter button. I care about the rights of all humans, not just those who agree with me. I’m aware that that viewpoint isn’t very popular amongst some people which is why I started my comment the way I did.

  • EngiNerd


    I think that’s rather oversimplification of the issue. For one, a prospective student should not have to choose to not go to a school based on which fast food chains are offered or analogous offerings/opportunities. Emory, like many good universities, have Chick-fil-a’s on their campuses. That’s like saying I don’t want to go to school in Atlanta because it’s a southern city.

    Two, the school has a contract with Sodexho to provide food services throughout campus. Sodexho subcontracts out to Chick-fil-A. Emory does not have that much power, if any, over the subcontract, which is why students and Emory are asking Sodexho to not renew its contract with Chick-fil-A.

    Third, the university also serves the students so how money is used by the University is impart controlled by the students. There’s obvious control like how student government delegate funding for student organizations and events, and theirs also less formal means. Additionally, administration and employees have similar feelings towards Chick-fil-A. This is an issue that surpasses the student community and affects the entire Emory community.

  • Cam


    So according to you it is mandatory that Emory University, a private university must acccept every business even though their students may not like it.

    I’m sorry, but that is anti-Capitalist. The students are Emory’s customers, if they demand that a business leave, it is Emory’s deciscion. Additionally, as a college, having a business owned by say “The KKK” is akin to Emory advocating their position.

    All of that can harm their primary business, which is students.

  • NotStr8Acting

    @GreatGatsby2011: Part of me believes you’re trying to play devil’s advocate just for the sake of playing devil’s advocate. You’re obsession to “play fair” and be nuetral, is actually quite clearly picking a side without you realizing it. Allowing a company that donates funds to the MURDERS of gays abroad is not exactly promoting a “fair” point of view. There’s some things that go beyond law, and go to ethics. You want a free for all. That regardless of how reprehensible the actions and financial funding of a company may be, they should all exist. A poster above brought up a great point you overlooked. Would you also be in favor of an establishment that takes a pecentage of it’s funds and donates it to groups that promote rape of women abroad? …
    how is that any different/worse than a company that is on record for donating funds to groups that have facilitated other groups whom seek to murder gays abroad?
    You want us to overlook that, and just pretend to be a little less passionate about our gay brothers & sisters elsewhere. Sorry, no. YOU have every right to not care, or care as much, or even care at all. You can’t dictate how much others can & should care about the HUMAN rights of an entire demographic. These college kids care a lot. And thank goodness people like them exist.

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