Resolution against Chick-fil-A passes in SGA Senate

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After four contentious weeks, the resolution against Chick-fil-A’s presence in the future Lakeside Dining Hall at Elon University passed 35-11-0 in a vote by the SGA Senate. The resolution, drafted by Spectrum, Elon’s queer-straight alliance, argues Chick-fil-A does not align with the university’s non-discrimination policy and asks its administration to consider partnering with a different vendor.

But SGA Executive President Darien Flowers, who holds veto power over all SGA legislation, said he might not endorse the resolution.

“I have a lot of deliberation to do,” he said. “I have to take in a lot of information, talk with counselors and advisers, and think about what is best for the community and the university as a whole, at least from a student perspective. This decision weighs heavy on me.”

Despite the possibility of a veto, Lauren Clapp, an advocacy and education chair for Spectrum, showed surprise and excitement at the results of the vote.

“It’s so affirming and exciting to hear members of your community share your same viewpoint and stand up for you,” she said “I really tried not to come in with any expectations, but I’m really happy with how it turned out.”

Before voting on the resolution, the SGA hosted an open forum during which students and community members shared their viewpoints on the issues at hand.

During the forum, Clapp challenged the senate members to vote, rather than abstain, on the issues raised in the proposed legislation. She reiterated Spectrum’s earlier statement that it does not take issue with Chick-fil-A COO Dan Cathy’s remarks on gay marriage, but rather the anti-gay organizations the franchise supports through charity, including Exodus International and the Family Research Council.

“These groups cause direct harm to LGBTQ people and contribute to an environment that is unhealthy, discriminatory, hostile and offensive to the entire LGBTQ community,” she said. “Exodus International is an advocate of conversion therapy, despite the fact that is has been denounced by at least 15 reputable medical societies.”

Emily Kane, an advocacy and education chair for Spectrum, then shared her experience with conversion therapy at 16. Upon learning her daughter might be queer, Kane’s mother required her to attend Crossover Therapies, a three-month series of weekly meetings designed to change the sexual orientations of its queer participants.

“It was a lot of praying and lying, and in hindsight, I realize how much it set me back,” Kane said. “There were times during those months that I hated myself to the core. I tried so hard to stop being attracted to women, but I just couldn’t,” she said.

As the therapy continued, she became more ashamed of herself.

“I didn’t want to be me,” she said. “The experience was deeply psychologically harmful, and Elon should not be giving one penny to groups who are OK with that type of harm. Elon’s value of creating an inclusive community is more important than a chicken sandwich and some waffle fries.”

For some students, issue was one of social justice rather than personal experience. Senior Jasmine Whaley, a campus tour guide, said if this issue was racially or religiously charged, there would be little debate surrounding it.

“If you want to be a part of this community, you need to stand for the principles that the people who came before us stood for,” she said. “The next time I have a gay or lesbian student on tour, and they ask about this issue in our community, I really, really hope I can tell them gays are accepted on this campus.”

Senior Will Brummett voiced his agreement and encouraged the SGA Senate to show their support for the LGBTQ community.

“Our rights as students are not recognized until everyone’s here are recognized,” he said. “Now is our time. A justice delayed is a justice denied.”

But other students disagreed with the arguments to sever the university’s relationship with Chick-fil-A.

“A lot of the arguments I’ve seen supported have not been based in rational thinking,” said sophomore Steven Taranto. “I don’t mean that with any disrespect, but I feel like a lot of the supporting statements based on emotion and I don’t think that’s right.”

Other speakers mentioned the precedent the resolution might set if it the senate voted in favor of the legislation.

“I ask you to please carefully consider your vote this evening,” junior Robert Orr said to the senate. “Are we going to scrutinize all businesses the university partners with?”

He cited a recent poll conducted by The Pendulum. The results, which reflected the responses of 283 Elon students, showed 63 percent of respondents in favor of keeping Chick-fil-A on campus.

“The SGA is designed to represent our student body,” he said “These results don’t include the whole student body, but they include a greater number of students than are represented here tonight.”

Several compromises were proposed throughout the night, as well.

“I believe the correct action at this time is to recommend to President Lambert to allow time for Dan Cathy to change his opinions,” said senior Max Piland. “I don’t think the SGA or President Lambert should get into the habit of removing people from our community without giving them chance to change.”

Senior Jack Minor suggested a more businesslike approach.

“It will become a business decision if students choose to patronize or not to patronize the business,” he said. “We have not seen that yet this year; numbers do not show an increased or decreased support for Chick-fil-A. Eventually we will get there, though, and the university can make a decision based on that. I feel this is an issue that will resolve itself with time.”

At the end of the evening, senate members openly debated their thoughts and feelings on the matter after hearing the open forum statements. After nearly an hour of discussion, the senate voted in favor of the resolution.

“The biggest accomplishment of this senate meeting wasn’t the numbers, it wasn’t the verdict,” said SGA Executive Vice President Connor O’Donnell. “I honestly think it was about the fact that two opposing viewpoints on a highly charged issue were able to come forward and have a proactive debate.”

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  • Frank L.

    I read on Facebook that some of the facts from Spectrum may have been stretches of the truth. Seems sketchy to me.

    • Maggie

      Because Facebook is a completely legitimate source of information…..

      • Frank L.

        No, I mean on The Pendulum’s Facebook. Guy posted something about the millions in donations being to Christian groups not anti-gay. I’m sort of confused. Seems legit.

        Why is everyone putting a negative on my post too? What’s up with that? Very sketch.

        • Meg Hemmingson

          Frank, I’m not sure where you’re getting your information, or what posts you’re referring to specifically. But Chick-Fil-A contributes directly to organizations like Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council, and Exodus International, as the above article states. All of them support “traditional marriage,” which is to say straight marriage and nothing but. Many of them also support conversion therapy, which, again, you can read about above, and some of them have lobbied for Congress to support an extremely homophobic bill in Uganda known as the “Kill the Gays” bill. These are facts, ones I’m sure Spectrum must have cited in the meeting last night, and there’s nothing to stretch about them.

          I, for one, am very happy about the way the SGA voted last night, and I hope the president chooses not to exercise his veto on this sensitive issue. As an alum, I hope Elon can one day be a truly inclusionary place for people of ALL backgrounds, which includes not supporting companies that donate money toward such insidious, backward causes.

          • Frank L.

            I just read the links where the groups didn’t support the Kill the Gays legislation on Facebook though? What are the facts on that? I’m a Christian and I’m not anti-gay, so I dont think others would be too? And this conversion therapy, isn’t that just the same as when us Christians are born again in Christ. Maybe it’s just because I have a religious background, but I don’t see this the same as Spectrum at all. I still don’t know why everyone is giving me a thumbs down when I am just asking questions? I just wanted someone to clarify if that’s true or not. Is everything Christian being considered anti-gay? Also, did Chick FilA or any organization really support killing gays? That seems crazy to me.

          • Tracy Stallings

            Yes, christian is anti-gay. That is the goal.

          • Frank L.

            That seems like a problem and attack on freedom of religion is it not? I mean people in churches have “conversions” every week. This seems really silly.

          • onkyo95

            all religions condemn homosexuality. Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, etc., etc.. Why is that? To be a truly free and equal society, we should legalize beastiality, incest, necrophelia and even bigamy and polygamy. After all, let’s not be intolerant of someone who wants a different lifestyle than us.

          • avengetheweak

            …an inclusionary place for all except for conservative and evangelical Christians, political conservatives, conservative Catholics, or anyone else who believes in traditional marriage. Your inclusionary utopia is a myth and your post is disingenuous when you say “ALL” but mean “all who agree with me and do not hold an opposing position.” And, any post from a LGBTQ position could not be complete without the requisite albeit subtle name-calling…”insidious, backwards.”

            Truly open-minded of you, Meg.

          • Bill P

            You contradicted yourself. You said, ” I hope Elon can one day be a truly inclusionary place for people of ALL backgrounds”, but then you say that does not include those with whom you disagree.

            Just be honest. If you say you do not wish others around whose freedom of thought and conscience you disagree, then fine. But don’t lie and say you want to be inclusive, when what you really mean is to include only those who agree with you.

    • Jack A.

      Thanks Frank! I have been trying to spread truth and facts. All I have seen is misinformation.

  • JR

    Silly liberals would rather shut down any opinions that differ from their own rather than deal with them in a public forum. So instead of open debate they engage in character assassination. Remember this is not about CFA, but about the personal opinions of Dan Cathy. My goodness we cannot have the delicate sensibilities of fragile students confused by other viewpoints that differ from what’s politically correct. Hey, homosexuals…you’re not special. Quit acting like you’re so oppressed. You don’t deserve special treatment. That’s life…better you learn that now in the ivory tower, than on the mean streets of reality.

  • Pat_in_NC

    How can we cut off state gov funding for Elon?
    If Elon students don’t support our values, why should we support Elon?

    • tibs@88

      This was not a decision by the whole student body. SGA dropped the ball and your opinion of our fine institution should not be based on the smaller sector. Elon has values that are misrepresented here.

      • Pat_in_NC

        Sorry. Cut funding to Elon U.
        I’m writing my legislators.
        The students are free to voice their opinion.
        And we are free to cut your funding.

        • Dan Quackenbush

          Well Elon is a private university so its not exactly like our entire basis of financial support is dependent upon the state of North Carolina

          • Pat_in_NC

            yeah, it looks like all we can cut off is some NC student financial aid from North Carolina Need-Based Scholarship program.
            And of course complain to our federal legislators to cut off grant money.

  • Normal_in_NC

    “..rather the anti-gay organizations the franchise supports through charity, ….These groups cause direct harm to LGBTQ people. What about the harm the LGBTQ groups/people inflict on straight, normal people couples.
    No funding for Elon if they support gays and punish normal folks.

    • Corblues

      I’m sorry, what harm are you talking about?

      • Manny Laureano

        Bullying through peer pressure, for one. Be honest and admit that’s why your so-called senate override public opinion.

  • Tony Dags

    Wish they would go back into the closet

  • Steven Taranto

    Looks like I managed to get a mention in this – Not bad for speaking by the seat of my pants, I suppose.

    With a bit more time to dwell on things, I conjured a more verbose response to the legislation and arguments presented that is as follows: I
    really got the impression at times during the Open Forum that the
    speeches of people advocating against Chick-fil-a were more of personal
    soapboxes than rational arguments. Being gay is obviously something that
    lends itself to some very hard and hurtful experiences and I have the
    utmost respect for people who are out and comfortable with who they are
    (No BS. Attended an annual LGBT workshop as an Ally all four years of
    High School and I would defend the people I know who are gay at the drop
    of a hat.), but my thought was that there are other forums for this,
    and that environment was not the time or place for a life story.

    know and understand that it takes a lot of courage for a gay person to
    stake their claim and make their opinion known, but simultaneously, it
    took a lot of courage for me to say that the way they were going about
    it was wrong. Because now I’ve got to deal with potential consequences
    of my advocating for Chick-fil-a: What if I’m walking around campus and
    get labeled as a ‘bigot’ or ‘homophobe’ just because I said something
    that some people didn’t like? What about my organization that’s still
    fledgling? Am I going to lose out on recruits or have the flyers I’m
    putting up defaced because of my viewpoint? I had an iron in the fire
    with one of the faculty members who spoke against Chick-fil-a tonight as
    far as potential assistance for my club – Does that fall through the
    roof now? I would absolutely like to think that people at Elon have more
    integrity and respect for everyone’s opinions than that, but when you
    get more glares than applause, it plants the worry in your head that
    ”Darn, I’m going to be ostracized for this”.

    The reason I have been critical of the legislation is not because I feel like my right to eat at Chick-fil-a is endangered. On campus or off campus, I enjoy their food and it would only be a minor inconvenience to me if I had to go to University Drive instead of Octagon Cafe. The reason I am less than approving is that both the legislation and the arguments used to support it are divisive. Nevermind that there’s been a lot of public fallout from this, but when statements are made that limit the options like ”[Gay people] feel like when they see someone buying Chick-fil-a, they don’t know whether it’s because they just like the food or because they’re actively supporting bigotry against gay people”, a lot of people are going to feel insulted. I, myself, felt insulted by the implication that somehow, my integrity and decency as a human being is compromised just because of what I eat. Not to mention that even though Spectrum and other LGBT groups have come to view Chick-fil-a as a symbol of anti-gay sentiment in the United States, a new retail facility to replace Chick-fil-a would be a symbol of something else: It would be a symbol of one group’s usurping of what most students wanted. And that is inherently divisive, because it would be a restaurant that was brought in for the sake of LGBT people to feel good about eating at and seeing other people eat at rather than for the entire student body. Especially if said place is vegan like one speaker suggested – Horrors!

    I must again emphasize that I say these things with no disrespect to the opposition. I think personally that a very, very nice thing in this world is when two people can disagree with each other, but have a good, honest back and forth with no animosity or hard feelings involved. And when this can occur, you have a sign of a healthy college. But I feel personally that actions put forward to enact social change are not for the better when it emphasizes the volatile and subjective nature of emotion as opposed to the firm and objective nature of reason and resorts to logical fallacies and ad hominem for those who don’t agree. That is, to use a tu quoque argument, just going to hurt people. And for this and other reasons, I would like to see this legislation presented in a more logically sound way or abandoned altogether.

  • avengetheweak

    If you do not like Chick-fil-A or their owners’ position on traditional marriage, don’t buy their food. But, this issue and the response of the student legislature isn’t about chicken or traditional marriage, it is about silencing opposition to a position. Whether you are for or against traditional marriage, the LGBTQ community and their allies are not up for a debate on the merits of their arguments. They want to stifle debate and shut up everyone who doesn’t agree with their position. They will throw out words like Nazi, hate-monger, bigot, etc., and use politically correct hate speech laws or, in this case, a resolution passed by the SGA Senate, to silence anyone with a different point of view. Is this an American value we aspire to nowadays?

    Elon’s queer-straight alliance, argues Chick-fil-A does not align with the university’s non-discrimination policy but I would argue that this organization and now the SGA Senate violates this same policy. Elon’s mission statement reads, “Elon University embraces its founders’ vision of an academic community that transforms mind, body, and spirit and encourages freedom of thought and liberty of conscience.” Encouraging freedom of thought by silencing alternative viewpoints?
    “We foster respect for human differences” by forgetting that not every person does or should agree with the LGBTQ community?

    Each person is entitled to their own beliefs and opinions. If you don’t like what they believe and think, don’t hang out with them and if they own a business, don’t buy their stuff. Perhaps everyone like me who disagrees with the SGA Senate resolution should stop giving our hard earned money to Elon University?

  • Bill P

    Have any of you people even read Elon’s mission statement?? I will quote, “encourages freedom of thought and liberty of conscience”. One may agree or disagree with Mr. Cathy’s thought and conscience. One may choose to patronize Chick Fil A or not. But when one in power takes actions to expel a campus business, and hence impact the free choices of others, on the basis of disagreeing with the owner’s thoughts and conscience, then who is the wrongdoer here? Have you not learned anything about freedom? And by the way, the report I read is that his firm has no case of discrimination on the basis of orientation in hiring or serving.

    You may defend yourself by saying that gay marriage is a natural human right. But it is not. Marriage is a concoction of politics, economics, property, contract, and government interference. The traditional definition involving one man and one or more women has been around for thousands of years. The transgression is not that some people people have a religious basis that excludes gay marriage, but that there is any legal basis for marriage at all. Why do you need permission from the government to get married in the first place? Seek this answer and you will find the real enemy of liberty.

    The most intolerant people I have ever met are those whose intolerant positions are taken in the name of tolerance.

    • Jack A.

      This is precisely what I have been saying all along. Whose rights are being violated here? There is no “right to marry.” There is no “right to discriminate about other people’s donation practices”

      There IS a basic human right in Article 16(3) of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights for society and the State to protect the family and Chick FilA is doing that and donation to ministries that help people. In a faith environment, CONVERSION through faith happens all the time. However, Spectrum is demonizing Chick FilA for their beliefs. If you don’t want to believe the same, fine. However, live and let live.

      I think the best course for SPECTRUM right now is…”take this battle that you have won and DISMISS the legislation.” If Chick FilA remains on campus in the new dining hall it will now be a “SYMBOL” of inclusion. The fact that you don’t want it there, but allowed it because you believe ALL people are entitled to their views. Otherwise, whatever ends up replacing it will become a symbol of EXCLUSION because it will be the “Restaurant that replaced Chick FilA, because people got upset.” You could actually make yourself HAVE a voice now by being INCLUSIVE and ALLOWING Chick FilA. I for one would find that HIGHLY ADMIRABLE and would be singing the praises of your organization AND Elon as being TRULY INCLUSIVE!!! (That’s not lip service). That would be admirable. You could still not eat there, but you wouldn’t make anyone mad either and gain a voice. That ball is in YOUR court! However, if you want to continue this narrow minded path in the name of being right, you will really just be counterproductive and MORE divisive to your Institution and society.

      (Also, I laugh at the fact that Spectrum is upset that “the media” is twisting this to be about freedom of speech and making them out to be bad when they are not. Welcome to a day in Chick FilA’s shoes. Karma bites!) Please re-think this.

    • Jim

      @2cd6be7b28c93afa8a372ac02c8f0b8b:disqus Fantastic post. The traditional definition of marriage was defined in the Bible! But then everyone is in such a darned hurry to flip the world on it’s face. I support LGBTQ but for God’s sake could they calm down and proceed with their cause more rationally? By boycotting Chick Fil A this year I don’t think they realize how much harm they’ve done to their end goal. People are freaked out that there is such outward anger to people who just haven’t come around yet. PRESIDENT OBAMA just announced that he changed his mind about gay marriage a few months ago (during election time)!!!

      By “drawing the line in the sand” the LGBTQ community risks permanent loss of support from the general populace. Proceed carefully.

  • onkyo95

    This resolution is so wrong. Chick-fil-a has a right to their opinions and beliefs. Opinions and beliefs are not discriminatory. Actions are. If Chick-fil-A refused to hire gay people or to serve them, then I would agree with this resolution. But they have not been discriminatory in any way. By passing this resolution, the SGA Senate is trying to force their opinions and beliefs on someone else. In fact, in doing so, they are being just as intolerant of someone else as they themselves constantly whine about someone else being towards them. If you don’t like gays, or blacks, or whites or Jews, that’s fine. That’s your own opinion. As long as you treat them as equal as anyone else, then fine. It’s your actions that make you dicriminatory. I personally feel that homosexuality is wrong. It’s as perverse as beastiality, necrophelia, or incest. But for some reason society wants to accept one perversion over another. However, I do not treat any homosexual any different than I do anyone else. And yes, I do know several gay people. I work with some and even hang out with them. I just don’t believe in their lifestyle. That does not make me hateful or intolerant. But I would like to make one point: If homosexuals feel that their lifestyle is so “okay” and that nothing is wrong with it, then they should all get together and go to Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, or evn Iraq and stand up for their gay brethren who are truly being discriminated against. In fact, most of those countries will kill people for being gay. The one thing that all religions of the world agree on is that homosexuality is wrong? Why is that? They don’t really agree on anything else. But they all condemn homosexuality.

  • tibs@88

    People really should realize that the CEO of a company should not have a direct connection to this controversy. He was the one who donated, NOT the company and therefore there is irrelevant and should not be an issue. The chain of fast food locations does not discriminate during food service, advertising, or hiring of employees, so this is just another band wagon for people to jump on in this case. SGA really dropped the ball on this one and let this pass. I personally do not care for the food but it from a business standpoint it is completely idiotic. I also would like to note that the one person who is running for president with this support, has not mentioned it much and therefor doesn’t feel that it matters either. I call for a reverse or a vote to the entire student body where the decision should come by those who use it the most. It is a choice to use it. If you do not support it, go somewhere else. Sorry.

  • swampland

    We all need calm down on this. The Elon SGA is comprised of good and decent people who seek to ensure tolerance for differing viewpoints and lifestyles within the university community. Except, of course, the viewpoints and lifestyles espoused by those rightwing bastards down at Chick-fil-A.

  • Britney

    Everyone that is sitting here, arguing that this is discrimination and that the people who don’t want to eat at Chick-fil-A just shouldn’t eat there have clearly missed the reason behind this legislation. Chick-fil-A supports organizations that discriminate against gay people and try to fundamentally change who they are. Not acceptable, it’s a matter of human rights. And choosing to just boycott Chick-fil-A at Elon isn’t affective because they don’t get paid on a person to person basis. They get their money, regardless, and that money is coming out of student’s tuition/meal plans, even if they don’t eat there. You want your chicken that badly? Take the BioBus to the one off of Huffman Mill and eat there.

    • Jack A.

      I’d be interested in the evidence that Chick FilA “gets their money regardless” and how just a boycott would not be “effective.” Also, you said…”it’s a matter of human rights.” I agree…Article 16(3) of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights says that The family is the fundamental unit of society and is subject to protection by SOCIETY and the State. Therefore, Chick FilA has the clearly defined human right to protect the family. What rights are you talking about? I think it’s clear whose rights are being violated here.

    • Jim

      Britney you are so wrong about the organizations they support. This is a de facto vote against faith-based organizations. Christianity is what drives you mad. Don’t hide from that. There is no evidence to support the premise that these are hateful groups. Quite the opposite.

      Classic case for a 1st amendment lawsuit to be won here. The evidence is overwhelming. Sorry.

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