KU faculty council BEGS university to kick Chick-fil-A to the curb
A faculty council at the University of Kansas pleaded with administrators to kick Chick-fil-A off campus.
The council called the popular chicken chain a "bastion of bigotry," among others things in a letter to the university.
The University of Kansas Sexuality and Gender Diversity Faculty Staff Council has expressed "extreme frustration" with the university's decision to "deepen its relationship" with the popular fast-food chain Chick-fil-A.
"We, members of the Sexuality & Gender Diversity Faculty and Staff Council, write to express our extreme frustration at the University’s moves over the summer to deepen its relationship with Chick-fil-A," the group wrote in a recent letter to university administrators.
Specifically, they took issue with the fact that Chick-fil-A would move to a more prominent location on campus. Their beef with the chicken joint stemmed from the company's perceived stance on LGBTQ issues, particularly its "history of supporting organizations that are hostile to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people, families, and communities."
Previous Campus Reform reporting has indicated:
According to the Chick-fil-A Foundation’s website, the company donated $150,000 to the Salvation Army in 2017, funding camps for children, as well as the Atlanta, Ga. Angel Tree program, which provides holiday gifts to poor children. The same year, the foundation donated $1.6 million to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes for school programs and sports camps. As for the Paul Anderson Youth Home, Chick-fil-A donated $6,000 to the group in 2017 for a yearly Christmas dinner theater, as well as a bike ride fundraiser. The three groups have indicated, to varying degrees, that they do not support homosexuality.
The KU council's statement claims that Chick-fil-A has supported Family Research Council, a conservative Christian nonprofit, but the Chick-fil-A Foundation's website, which lists its 2017 donations (the most recent available) does not list FRC as a recipient. The statement also states that Chick-fil-A supported Exodus International, but fails to mention that the organization, which promoted conversion therapy, ceased operations in 2013.
The Chick-fil-A Foundation did not respond in time for publication when asked if a more recent list of its donations is available.
"While we recognize that contractual obligations did not allow the complete removal of the brand from campus, we are outraged that they have been allowed to move from the Wescoe Underground to a new, bigger, more central location on the University of Kansas campus. Despite our denouncements and the university’s own moves to increase the campus’s diversity, equity, and inclusion, KU granted Chick-fil-A, a bastion of bigotry, a prime retail location in the heart of our campus. The Union houses spaces that the KU community designates as safe and accepting—not least of which are the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Center for Sexual & Gender Diversity," the council continued.
The statement comes five years after students and faculty at KU petitioned the university not to renew Chick-fil-A's $60,000 per year contract.
“And despite that they went ahead and signed a contract for another 10 years,” Katie Batza, the head of the Sexuality and Gender Diversity Faculty and Staff Council, said, according to the Kansas City Star. That means the university's contract with Chick-fil-A is up again in 2024.
However, as the Star also reported, “they are not giving us any guarantee that the contact won’t be renewed again," Batza said.
"We beseech you to rectify this situation immediately, promoting inclusion and equity instead of hatred and intolerance. At the very least, we demand a guarantee from the Chancellor, KU Athletics, and the Provost that these contracts will not be renewed once expired," the council's later stated, later adding, " we will urge our members and allies to speak with our dollars as well as our words, and boycott the restaurant."
The University of Kansas did not return a request for comment but, according to the University Daily Kansas, Interim Provost Carl Lejuez said in an email to faculty and staff, “Moving forward, I believe it is important to have thoughtful discussion and deliberation when we enter into contracts. In the future, we will do so in a manner that is transparent and informed by our commitment to affirm diversity and to be a welcoming and inclusive campus.”
Batza appears to have shared a University Daily Kansan article on the controversy on her personal Facebook page, where she received some criticism. One user commented on the shared link, "you ought to do some research and perhaps even contact the company before spouting off your misinformed and blatantly false opinions in the media. Describing the company as a ‘bastion of bigotry’ makes you a bastion of idiocy. Oh, wait! I forgot, anyone who does not bow down before your beliefs is a bigoted fascist, right?? Don’t like the food? Don’t eat there. Plenty of people love the food."
The KU Center for Sexuality and Gender Diversity official Facebook page also shared the same link, where one user commented, "Took long enough, but my twin brother and best friend are both gay and love chick-fil-a along with several other gay people i know."
Campus Reform reached out to Batza but did not hear back in time for publication.
This is the latest example of Chick-fil-A coming under fire on American college campuses. As Campus Reform has reported, students and faculty have grilled Chick-fil-A at colleges from California to Texas to Nebraska to New Jersey.