US: University removes Chick-fil-A branch from campus over lack of student support

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A university in the US city of Atlanta has removed chicken restaurant Chick-fil-A from its campus following a lack of support from students. Last year there was a furore around the company’s CEO, and a confusion over whether or not the company opposed equal marriage.

The Georgia-based Emory University’s food hall is to be redesigned, and despite the school board saying it could not remove Chick-fil-A, the restaurant has not been included in any of the plans.

In December, the university’s Student Government Association passed a resolution in opposition to the chicken restaurant being present on the campus.

Campus administrators then released a statement acknowledging students’ opposition to the company, but saying that it was not grounds for its contract to be cancelled.

The University’s newspaper, the Emory Wheel tweeted the news that Chick-fil-A was to be removed from the new layout, citing student feedback as the reason for its removal.

The tweet read: “UPDATE: In a decision based solely on student feedback, Chick-fil-A will be replaced by a pizza and pasta station”.

In the report by the Wheel, David Furhman, senior director of Emory’s Food Service Administration said: “What we learned was that there was no great affinity or love for Chick-fil-A.”

“It was more of an affinity or love of the convenience, and what students also told us was that they didn’t really love Chick-fil-A,” he continued.

He went on to say that Chick-fil-A had existed on the campus for 29 years, and that it was time to “shake things up a bit”.

The original statement from the university read: “Any decision to by Sodexo [the campus dining contractor] to renew or not renew the contract with Chick-fil-A, or any other vendor, must be part of a dining vision to advance the purposes for which Emory has contracted with Sodexo. Opposing views must be acknowledged, recognizing that some differences are truly irreconcilable. […]

“Typical brand selection and replacement considerations include, but are not limited to, preferential surveys, strategic planning processes, campus master planning, sales trends, contract requirements, and brand re-imaging.”

Back in July, the CEO of Chick-fil-A, Dan Cathy, publicly confirmed that the company was opposed to equal marriage.

Cathy told the Baptist Press that the company was “guilty as charged”, when asked about its perceived opposition to equal marriage.

There was then a drawn-out mix of messages coming out of the company over several months, some seeming to suggest that executives wanted to distance Chick-fil-A from the controversy, others confirming that it has maintained its anti-gay policy.

A gay rights advocacy group has said that, according to its most recent tax documents, Chick-fil-A has ceased giving money to groups opposed to equal marriage and gay rights.

Recently, pranksters from the Chick-Fil-A Foundation posted a video online in which they exchanged a fake coupon for a meal on the condition that they renounced their homosexuality.