A private university in New Jersey won’t be offering Chick-fil-A as a campus eatery option.
The Associated Press reported that Rider University in Lawrence Township, New Jersey, removed the restaurant after sending a survey to students about bringing a new restaurant franchise to the school. According to a letter to the university community from President Gregory G. Dell'Omo and Vice President for Student Affairs Leanna Fenneberg, the survey was sent out "a few weeks ago."
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"Although it was included in previous surveys, Chick-fil-A was removed as one of the options based on the company's record widely perceived to be in opposition to the LGBTQ+ community," the Nov. 23 letter said.
“That decision required a difficult assessment of competing interests. We sought to be thoughtful and fair in balancing the desire to provide satisfying options for a new on-campus restaurant while also being faithful to our values of inclusion.
“The choices in this situation, like in so many others, were imperfect. They challenged us to reflect on our values and consider what kind of community we want to provide for those who live and learn at Rider University. Ultimately, we decided to lean in the direction of creating a welcoming environment where differences can be appreciated and where each individual can expect to experience dignity and respect.”
"Rider University's survey was recently brought to our attention, and while we respect the University's decision, this news story represents a good opportunity to clarify misperceptions about our brand," the restaurant said in a statement through its attorney to The AP. "Chick-fil-A is a restaurant company focused on food, service and hospitality, and our restaurants and licensed locations on college campuses welcome everyone. We have no policy of discrimination against any group, and we do not have a political or social agenda. More than 120,000 people from different backgrounds and beliefs represent the Chick-fil-A brand."
In 2012, the Atlanta-headquartered restaurant faced boycotts and backlash after it was reported that it supported groups that oppose gay marriage. That same year, CEO Dan Cathy said he opposed gay marriage, and supported "the biblical definition of the family unit."