By DAVID BORAKS
Davidson College’s student-led Union Board has formally decided not to order food from Chick-fil-A for its late-night study breaks this year. The decision came this week, after a summer student petition that objected to the fast-food chain’s donations to groups fighting gay marriage.
A total of 670 people signed the petition, including current students, alumni, professors and other employees. After students returned to campus in late August, the Union Board surveyed students about which vendors they wanted this year. And The Davidsonian student newspaper hosted a campus forum on the issue.
This week, the Union Board officially decided to drop Chick-fil-A from the menu at the monthly “After Midnight” gatherings.
In a statement, Union Board President Adriana Nassar and Vice President Cameron Joe said: “Based on feedback gathered, the Union Board believes the interests of Davidson students are best served by not patronizing Chick-fil-A for this school year.”
Davidson College’s administration was quick to distance itself from the move. In its own statement, the college said:
The college administration was not involved in this decision, and the Union Board’s decision is in no way an official position of the college. There is no formal relationship between Davidson College and Chick-fil-A, and the restaurant has no facility on campus. Other student groups, as well as individual students, faculty and staff are free to serve Chick-fil-A at their events and to patronize the restaurant.
MONTHLY PARTY AFFECTED
For the past decade or so, the Union Board has organized the After Midnight gatherings, with take-out food and music. The program happens once a month on a Saturday night at the Alvarez College Union. Since 2002, After Midnight has brought in food from Chick-fil-A once or twice a year, according to the college. In recent years, the Union Board has added other options, including Qdoba, Joel’s Sushi, and Bellacino’s pizza.
Union Board members said this week the decision covers only the current school year, since membership on the board changes every year.
Davidson student Ben Wiley started the petition in July after researching the Atlanta-based company’s position on gay marriage.
On Tuesday, he had this to say: “What the Union Board is really telling us is that our students are awesome.”
“Also, I’m anticipating an undefeated basketball season for the Wildcats,” he joked, saying he was glad the debate was over.
This summer, Mr. Wiley said he acted after reading statements by company president Dan Cathy, who said in an interview with the Baptist Press that he is “guilty as charged” of supporting a biblical view of the family.
Mr. Wiley said at the time he wasn’t crusading against the beliefs of Chick-fil-A’s leadership, but only trying have a say in how his and fellow students’ money is being spent. “This is is about saying we are trying to lower the demand for Chick-fil-A so that the Union Board no longer purchases it for us,” he told DavidsonNews.net.
He said students should be concerned about the company’s spending on anti-gay causes – estimated at $5 million over the past decade or so. “We’re contributing to it,” Mr. Wiley said in July.
The petition comes as a growing number of college campuses have been reassessing relationships with Chick-fil-A amid its stance on gays.
But both Mr. Wiley and the college have been quick to say that Davidson’s case is different: The company doesn’t have a presence on campus and the Union Board decision was not about trying evict the chain from campus facilities.
Aug. 14, 2012, “College Union Board suspends use of Chick-fil-A at events”
July 30, 2012, “Students want to drop Chick-fil-A from late-night menu”