Students at a private university voted to bring Chick-fil-A, one of the most popular names in fast food, onto campus. However, administrators didn’t agree, deciding to nix the proposal because they believe the chain opposes the “LGBTQ+ community,” and sending out an email across the campus that didn’t sit well with some.
Administrators at Rider University in New Jersey decided to override the school’s vote and ban Chick-fil-A from having a restaurant on campus.
According to a report by Fox News, the administrators cited the chain’s perceived “opposition to the LGBTQ+ community.”
Cynthia Newman, Rider University’s dean of the College of Business, said it seemed as though the university was denouncing Chick-fil-A’s corporate values, much of which centers on faith, in the email.
“I felt like I had been punched in the stomach when I read that statement,” said Newman. “I’m a very committed Christian and Chick-fil-A’s values — their corporate purpose statement is to glorify God and to be faithful stewards of all that’s entrusted to them and to have a positive influence on everyone who comes into contact with them — and I would say that that mirrors my personal beliefs perfectly. And so I really felt it very personally.”
Newman reached out to university officials, asking that they issue an apology for their initial email.
Instead of apologizing, the university doubled down, sending another email filled with talking points about inclusion.
For Newman, the second email was the last straw. She couldn’t, “in good conscience,” stand behind the university because she felt that the Chick-fil-A ban suggested that persons of Christian faith were being labeled as not responsible citizens.
On February 14, she announced her resignation.
After deciding to resign, Newman received an outpouring of support from faculty members and staff for demonstrating that “no one group’s opinions, values, beliefs, should be elevated over anyone’s else’s…we should be able to respectfully disagree…we shouldn’t be putting down one person’s values because they don’t align with our personal values.”
“You’re the one who has to live in the world that’s around you,” said Newman, “and so if you feel something is not right in that world, you have an obligation to stand up and to say what your perspective is on that.”