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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Indiana University South Bend Faculty and Students Support Removing Chick-Fil-A from Campus

By Michael Jones -

Indiana University at South Bend (IUSB) made news a couple months ago, after the school temporarily suspended Chick-fil-A as a campus vendor, in the wake of numerous stories that indicated the chicken chain had substantial financial ties to leading anti-gay organizations in the United States.
Chick-fil-A was later reinstated as a vendor by the school's chancellor, but student and faculty activism certainly did not subside. Indeed, in the past few weeks, students and faculty have stepped up their organizing in hopes of convincing the school's chancellor that Chick-fil-A's anti-gay agenda is incompatible with the university's commitment to diversity and equality. These students and faculty members are now presenting a unified voice from across scores of departments and organizations on campus, urging the chancellor to listen to popular opinion, and remove Chick-fil-A as a food service vendor.
The Student Government Association overwhelmingly endorsed efforts to hold Chick-fil-A accountable on campus for the company's anti-gay ties. And last week, the IUSB Faculty Senate passed a resolution calling out the inconsistency of hosting Chick-fil-A -- which has given more than $1.1 million to organizations opposed to LGBT equality -- on campus. Here's the pivotal clause in their resolution, which was forwarded to via email:
"Whereas Chick-fil-a is a business that promotes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation through its political contributions; Whereas IUSB's support for a vendor that promotes discrimination, fosters disrespect, and encourages an atmosphere of intimidation against its LGBT students; Whereas IUSB faculty cannot fully educate our students to best of our capacity if IUSB supports or condones discrimination that targets them; Whereas IUSB has a choice in vendors with which it may do business; Be it resolved that IUSB faculty support the Student Government Association, the Civil Rights Student Association, the Feminist Student Union, and the Student Workers' Association's demand for a full and immediate review of Chick-fil-A as a qualified vendor..."
Talk about a powerful show of support for students by IUSB's faculty, and talk about wanting to live out one of IUSB's strongest principles: to foster a learning and working environment that builds respect for all on campus, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.
Will IUSB's chancellor follow both student and faculty demand, and remove Chick-fil-A as a vendor from campus, given the brand's financial ties to groups who want to take away civil rights for LGBT Americans? We'll know for sure soon. Students are meeting with the chancellor's office Tuesday, to present her with both the faculty resolution and the student government resolution, as well as to show the chancellor that there's a broad-level of support among the entire student body for removing Chick-fil-A as a vendor on campus.
If the chancellor refuses to listen, students have made it clear that they're willing to escalate this campaign via organized demonstrations, protests and a petition on, to point out that IUSB's values are inconsistent with the anti-gay values of Chick-fil-A -- and that Chick-fil-A violates the IUSB's Supplier Code of Conduct by financially supporting organizations vehemently opposed to civil rights for LGBT people. Students at IUSB have made this argument in a powerpoint that is available here.
We'll find out what direction this takes tomorrow, and whether the chancellor's office affirms the voice of the majority of faculty and students on campus. Stay tuned....

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