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Emory University students may no longer be munching on Chick-fil-A sandwiches and waffle fries this summer, and the campus insists it has nothing to do with fallout over comments about gay marriage the popular restaurant chain’s president made last summer.
Students on an advisory committee have recommended that the restaurant, which has been on campus for 29 years, not be among new food vendors in a redesign of Cox Hall Food Court on the DeKalb County campus. A final decision on whether to include Chick-fil-A in the mix has not been made, a campus spokeswoman said.
Michael Sacks, co-chair of the Food Advisory Committee at Emory, said surveys show students want more choices at the food court, and a chicken restaurant is not among them.
“It’s really not politically motivated,” Sacks told AJC reporter Leon Stafford. “It’s a coincidence of timing.” He said the committee decided last week to remove Chick-fil-A and Domino’s Pizza, although there will be pizza offerings in the redesign.
Another co-chair, Karoline Porcello, told the campus newspaper Emory Wheel that a contributing factor was the restaurant didn’t live up to campus life and student values.
David Furhman, senior director of Emory’s Food Service Administration, also told the Wheel there was “no great affinity or love for Chick-fil-A” but more “an affinity or love of the convenience” of having the restaurant on campus.
Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy’s warning that the nation is “inviting God’s judgment” because it is trying to “redefine” marriage was viewed as an attack on the lesbian and gay community. The comments triggered a firestorm of social media and public protests for days on college campuses and at the chain’s restaurants – both opposing and supporting Cathy’s views.
Emory also weighed in. Dean of Campus Ajay Nair said that while he supported Cathy’s free-speech rights, his comments “do not reflect Emory’s values as an institution.” In December, the campus Student Government Association passed a resolution opposing the restaurant’s presence on campus.
In reaction to the firestorm, Chick-fil-A issued a statement that it has a “culture and service tradition” to treat everyone “with honor, dignity and respect – regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.”
In a statement issued to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Wednesday, the university said no final decision has been made on Chick-fil-A. “A strategic review process is continuing with final plans for a new lineup of food vendors expected to be announced this summer.”