A recent student survey has made it
clear that Chick-fil-A is not welcome at Rider University in New
Last year, the chicken eatery topped a
survey of students asking what restaurant franchise they would like
to see on campus. But a second survey done during the fall semester
didn't include Chick-fil-A as an option, local
President Gregory G. Dell'Omo and Vice
President for Student Affairs Leanna Fenneberg said in a letter to
the Rider community that the decision to remove Chick-fil-A as a
dining option was “based on the company's record widely perceived
to be in opposition to the LGBTQ+ community.”
"We understand that some may view
the decision as being just another form of exclusion. We want to be
clear that this was not the spirit in which the decision was made,"
the administrators wrote. "We fully acknowledge an
organization’s right to hold these beliefs, just as we acknowledge
the right for individuals in our community and elsewhere to also
personally hold the same beliefs."
Rider's Center for Diversity and
Inclusion is organizing a campus forum for students, faculty and
staff to discuss the issue.
Chick-fil-A was founded in 1937 by the
late S. Truett Cathy, who refused to open on Sundays to allow
employees time to attend religious services or spend time with their
The eatery has reportedly donated
millions to Christian groups opposed to LGBT rights and same-sex
Chick-fil-A came under fire after it
was reported that the company had donated nearly $2 million to
anti-LGBT groups in 2010 alone, including Exodus International, a
group that promoted therapies that promised to alter the sexuality of
people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual, as well as Focus on the
Family, Family Life and the Family Research Council (FRC), whose
president, Tony Perkins, is a vocal opponent of LGBT rights and has
close ties to the Republican Party and President Donald Trump.
In a 2012 interview with the Christian
publication the Baptist Press, Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy
conceded that his company is opposed to marriage equality.
“Well, guilty as charged,” Cathy
answered when asked about his company's record of supporting groups
opposed to extending marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples.
“We are very much supportive of the
family – the biblical definition of the family unit,” Cathy said.
The company has since stated that it
remains neutral on the issue of marriage equality and respects every
person regardless of sexual orientation.
In a statement given to NBC News,
Chick-fil-A reiterated that it has no “political or social agenda.”
“Going forward, our intent is to
leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and
political arena,” the spokesman said in response to Rider's
Despite the company's official
position, LGBT rights opponents are among the chain's most outspoken