The decision to bring Chick-Fil-A to the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK) was recently reversed after complaints from students that the fast-food chain’s CEO supports traditional marriage and thus allowing his restaurant chain on campus would be offensive to homosexuals.
A survey sent out by the UNK student government in January resulted in a majority student vote to bring Chick-Fil-A to the campus student union. A number of students opposed the decision, however, complaining that Chick-Fil-A CEO Dan Cathy has made comments in the past supporting the traditional definition of marriage. The following is a comment Cathy had made in 2012 while on The Ken Coleman Show:
I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, “We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.” I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.
In response to the students’ complaints, the UNK student president Evan Calhoun announced via email that his student government would not be bringing Chick-Fil-A to campus because the chain’s “discriminatory policies” and “corporate values” did not align with UNK’s values. Calhoun wrote the following on his Facebook page:
When we learned more about Chick-fil-A and its corporate values and discriminatory policies, and after hearing these concerns raised by a section of our student body, we concluded that these corporate values are not aligned with our values as a student body, and it is not in the best interest of our UNK community to pursue Chick-fil-A right now. Because a chicken restaurant may still be your top choice, we decided to put a different chicken restaurant (Raising Cane’s) in the survey to see, now, which you favor among the lineup of other top options.
Students were told their next top choices were Panda Express, IHOP, and A&W.
Trevor Wiegert, a third-year UNK student and campus chancellor’s ambassador, said he was initially thrilled that the student government was considering bringing Chick-Fil-A to the campus union. After the decision was reversed, Weigert, backed by classmates and faculty members, urged the student government to reconsider Chick-Fil-A. In a letter he wrote to the UNK student senate, Wiegert wrote:
I think it is ridiculous and appalling that this is a situation we are faced with as a campus and student body, due to the preconceived notions of a very small minority. This is a country that was built and has thrived on the notion of free speech. Taking a man’s opinion on his belief in the traditional family and construing it to supposedly encompass his entire company’s corporate values and discriminatory policies in order to feel “safe” or like you’re not being “persecuted” is simply asinine.
Wiegert’s sentiments were echoed by other students who were also disappointed by the student government’s decision. UNK student Aaron Ohri wrote,
Your e-mail on why Chick-Fil-A does not “Align with our student body values,” and that this is why it cannot be a restaurant on this campus, is a complete and total slap in the face to many of us on this campus who believe that Chick-Fil-A is not wrong in what they believe. I understand that a Christian lifestlye [sic.] in this day and society is completely “Disrespectful” but please do not ever again send me an e-mail speaking for the “whole student body” when you do not have a clue what most of us actually think.
To Aaron Ohri, The House of the Nazarene responded: The poll was sent out, Chick-fil-A received the most responses, they should be the one picked. If a small body of students want to be discriminatory against the belief of the CEO, that should Not stop the majority of students (The real student body) have what they want and fairly voted for!
I know we live in the age and time when we don’t want to offend anyone, but the fact of the matter is, No matter what we do or say it IS going to offend someone, that’s life!
Kudos to you who are standing up for your rights! Chick-fil-A all the way!
Wiegert told The Daily Wire the opposition to the restaurant chain was led by a tiny group of students and did not represent the student body. After considerable pressure from Wiegert, among other university members, the student government decided to hold a forum next week to allow comments from students on all sides of the matter and send to the administration for review.
A final decision is now scheduled to be made next week on Thursday.