The student government of the University of Nebraska at Kearney took matters into its own hands when the student body overwhelmingly voted in favor of adding a Chick-fil-A to the student union. Hoping to avoid one controversy, the student government created a different problem.
In January 2016, UNK students filled out surveys asking which restaurants they wanted added to the student union’s roster of restaurants. With 722 votes, students requested Chick-fil-A. In second place was Panda Express with 407 votes, Independent Journal reports.
These results prompted complaints. Chick-fil-A’s CEO, Dan Cathy, is a vocal supporter of “the biblical definition of the family unit” and the company previously donated generously to organizations dedicated to fighting same-sex marriage, The Daily Beast reports.
These results prompted UNK Student President Evan Jay Calhoun to take to his Facebook page.
“As a follow-up to the January 19, 2016, survey of students about preferences for new dining options in the Nebraskan Student Union, we decided, after much consideration, to poll students again,” Calhoun wrote.
“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.”
Calhoun added that Raising Cane’s, a Louisiana-based chicken restaurant, would be added to the survey in Chick-fil-A’s place.
While Calhoun and the rest of the UNK student government were attempting to be respectful and not offend any of their fellow students, this action managed to do just that.
The UNK campus chancellor’s ambassador, Trevor Wiegert, wrote a scathing rebuttal to the student senate.
“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,” Wiegert wrote.
Another student, Aaron Ohri also penned a sharply worded letter stating that negating the survey results was 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,” noted Todd Starnes in an opinion piece for Fox News.
Chick-fil-A is currently the fastest-growing food chain in the U.S. While the corporation previously funded anti-LGBT causes, that funding was largely cut off to avoid bad publicity, reports The Daily Beast.