Student petitions battle over Wescoe Chick-fil-A
- Aug. 15, 2012
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Chick-fil-A has been the center of attention for a scandal that has nothing to do with its chicken. Owner Dan Cathy’s recent public anti-gay marriage stance has sparked movements both for and against the fast food chain, even here on campus. Three petitions appeared on Change.org shortly after the controversy, two asking the University to keep Chick-fil-A on campus, and one asking to remove it.
Chick-fil-A is currently under contract with the University until 2014. Mike Reid, director of public affairs said the University plans to look at the issue later this month. Reid said he doesn’t foresee the University breaking its contract with Chick-fil-A. The board meeting is set for August 25.
The two petitions to keep Chick-fil-A combined haven’t reached the amount of signatures that the petition to remove it has. The petition to remove the business from campus, created by James Castle, a University alumni from Overland Park, Kan., had reached 2,000 signatures on July 20.
One petitioner, Warner Cook, a senior from Olathe, married her girlfriend of almost two years last December. She commented on Change.org saying “my belief in same-sex marriage is worth more than a chicken sandwich”. Cook said the company financially supports organizations that affect her personally.
“I’m definitely not planning on eating there at all this year,” Cook said. Cook said she hopes that the University removes Chick-fil-A from campus.
Another petitioner commented saying that “a University that provides opportunities for a diverse group of people, should not have a place like Chick-fil-A that is so openly against equal rights”.
An opposing petition, asking the University to not take action against Chick-fil-A, had reached 500 signatures on July 27 and is almost to 700. The petition letter stated that Chick-fil-A was not violating any laws and should remain in business.
“There is no valid reason why disagreement from those opposed to Chick-fil-A’s values should succeed in not allowing Chick-fil-A to be in existence, presence, or practice,” the petition on Change.org said.
Students are not the only ones getting involved. Congressman Tim Huelskamp asked in a letter to Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little that the university uphold its non-discrimination policy in order to protect Chick-fil-A.
“Kicking out a private business that is operating legally on the grounds that its leader holds a particular set of religious and political beliefs different from yours or any other official would violate the University’s commitment to non-discrimination,” Huelskamp said in his letter.
Huelskamp said he hoped the University would not take a side when it comes time to review its contract with Chick-fil-A.
—Edited by Kelsey Cipolla