In another victory for freedom of speech, Purdue University stood tall in the face of anti-Chick-fil-A backlash and welcomed the chicken sandwich restaurant to its campus. Anti-Chick-fil-A activists point to the founder’s Christianity and belief in traditional marriage as a reason to bar the restaurant chain from opening locations at college campuses across the United States and in major cities.
The restaurant chain has emphasized that the beliefs of its founder, S. Truett Cathy, are not a part of its normal operations and are expressly the views of Mr. Cathy. Also, the company noted that no company revenue is used for Cathy’s personal philanthropic efforts to Christian-based causes. Cathy has been deceased since 2014, which is confusing as many anti-Chick-fil-A activists point to his beliefs as a reason to bar them from opening locations. The company is currently run by his son, Daniel Truett Cathy.
Purdue University issued the following statement, announcing Chick-fil-A’s presence on the West Lafayette, Indiana campus:
Purdue will continue to welcome Chick-fil-A to our campus given the overwhelming demand for their service from students, staff, and faculty.
While we respect and protect the rights of all to express their opinions at Purdue, this clarification is intended to reassure our students and others that this long-requested dining option will not be taken from them and to dispel any impression that Purdue would ever seriously consider such an action.
Like all Purdue vendors, the young woman franchisee, a Purdue graduate, has signed and observed a commitment of equal access and treatment in her employment and service practices. We would not be promoting choice and freedom by depriving thousands of people in our community of a choice they have long sought and are already taking advantage of in large numbers. And, we would not be practicing inclusion by excluding a completely legitimate business and its staff from our campus.
Following the initial statement, the university’s vice provost for diversity and inclusion, Dr. John Gates, said the following:
We are fortunate to be a campus that embraces excellence through diversity and freedom of expression and choice for all people. The Chick-fil-A operator on campus is bound by Purdue’s non-discrimination policy statement, and we look forward to them respecting our institutional core values of integrity, honor, respect, inclusion, innovation and growth.