Dear Elon Students,
Spectrum would like to address the misconceptions about our intent with the legislation to remove Chick-fil-A from campus. Spectrum does not think that we have the right to decide what Elon students are going to eat. We just want to raise our concerns and show that what Chick-fil-A stands for does not align with Elon’s values and, specifically, our non-discrimination policy.
To begin, we would like to address the issue of free speech. Spectrum has always been a strong supporter of free speech. This bill was not at all a response to Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy’s comments about marriage equality this summer. He has a right to his ideas and his expression of them. This is a response to Chick-fil-A’s corporate policies that allocate funds to groups registered by the Southern Poverty Law Center as hate groups. These groups, including the Family Research Council, the American Family Association, Focus on the Famil, and Exodus International, directly advocate for the criminalization, marginalization and death of LGBTQ people.
For example, two of these organizations lobbied the US Congress to prevent the US government from interfering with the Ugandan “Kill the Gays Bill” which may make homosexuality a crime punishable by death. These groups also promote conversion therapy, also known as reparative therapy or reorientation therapy, which is premised on the belief that one’s sexual orientation can be “fixed”. That particular type of therapy has been condemned by 13 reputable psychological associations including the American Psychological Association, The American Counseling Association and the American Medical Association. Clearly, this extends much further than a debate on marriage equality or free speech.
Now, let’s bring this home, and talk about the effects of Chik-fil-A at Elon. Our non-discrimination policy protects all of us from such hate, discrimination and violence. Chik-fil-A’s support of such groups thus violates the non-discrimination policy, and although we may love their delicious sandwiches, we do not want to see a single dollar of our money go to an organization that we know hates us and wants to change us—or worse.
Spectrum received so much support from the community last Spring regarding Amendment 1. Because of this we were surprised to hear so many objections to our proposal. People who advocated for us in the past now seem to prioritize a chicken sandwich over our rights. You may think we are trying to take away your chicken sandwiches, but what we see is a University sponsored restaurant trying to take away our rights and self-respect. This is not about marriage equality. This is not about free speech. This is about basic human rights.
This is why we proposed this legislation; this is why we want to discuss the Chick-fil-A controversy on our campus. That being said, we are aware of the recent rumors that Chick-fil-A has had a change of heart. But, we are also aware that Chick-fil-A has neither confirmed nor denied in any statement. Therefore, we are tabling the legislation until we all have more information about Chick-fil-A’s funding.
In the mean time, we invite you to join us Monday at 6:30 in Irazu for a Difficult Dialogue, co-sponsored by DEEP and Spectrum to further campus dialogue about the Chick-fil-A issue.
Spectrum Executive Board