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|Emory says Chick-fil-A doesn't reflect university's values, but remains on campus|
|by Dyana Bagby|
|August 01, 2012 10:22|
University campuses are joining political leaders and LGBT activists in criticizing the Chick-fil-A restaurant chain's outspoken stand against gay marriage.
Today, Emory University, known as one of the most LGBT-inclusive universities in the Southeast, issued a statement about the fast-food chain having a restaurant in the campus food court at Cox Hall. From Senior Vice President and Dean of Campus Life Dr. Ajay Nair:
Emory University has a long history of creating access, inclusion, and equity for Emory’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer students, faculty, staff and alumni. Recent public statements by Dan Cathy, president of Chick-fil-A, do not reflect Emory’s values as an institution.
Nevertheless, freedom of expression and an open exchange of ideas are also central tenets of the Emory community. Emory therefore respects the right of people to express their disagreement with Mr. Cathy by not patronizing Chick-fil-A. Emory’s vision statement calls for us to be 'internationally recognized as an inquiry-driven, ethically engaged, and diverse community, whose members work collaboratively for positive transformation in the world through courageous leadership in teaching, research, scholarship, health care, and social action.
It is our hope that our educational environment promotes diversity of thought and encourages dialogue on this issue with the aim of benefiting our local and global communities.
Emory's statement follows Atlanta City Councilmember Alex Wan, the only openly gay member on the council, saying he would oppose expansion of the restaurant within the city limits if possible and that he supports boycotts of the fast-food chain based in Atlanta.
Wan's statements followed on the heels of other politicians from Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia also taking Cathy to task for his anti-gay sentiments.
At Georgia's Kennesaw State University, which also has a Chick-fil-A on campus, those who oppose Cathy's stand started a change.org petition to try to get campus officials agree to remove the fast-food restaurant from campus.
On July 31, Chick-fil-A issued its own statement distancing itself from the political quagmire it has been caught up in recently:
Chick-fil-A is a family-owned and family-led company serving the communities in which it operates. From the day Truett Cathy started the company, he began applying biblically-based principles to managing his business.
The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect –regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender. We will continue this tradition in the over 1,600 Restaurants run by independent Owner/Operators. Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.
Our mission is simple: to serve great food, provide genuine hospitality and have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.
The restaurant also distanced itself from Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day set for today, Aug. 1, called for by evangelicals and led by conservative radio host and former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.
"Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day was not created by Chick-fil-A. We appreciate all of our customers and are glad to serve them at any time. Our goal is simple: to provide great food, genuine hospitality and to have a positive influence on all who come into contact with Chick-fil-A," said Steve Robinson, executive vice president of marketing, in a statement.
LGBT protests planned for today are also supposed to be taking place at local Chick-fil-As while a national same-sex kiss day is planned for Friday at Chick-fil-A restaurants across the country. Gayborhood App is planning to give away prizes at the same-sex kiss in at the Decatur Chick-fil-A on Friday.
Top photo: Emory students march in the 2011 Atlanta Pride parade. (via Facebook)
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