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Cal Poly Faculty Votes to Ban Chick-fil-A from Campus

Chick-fil-A protest
Robyn Beck/Getty
ALANA MASTRANGELO

Faculty at California Polytechnic State University recently voted to ban Chick-fil-A from campus, accusing the restaurant’s charity arm of being “in violation of our values” and suggesting that Chick-fil-A’s presence on campus is similar to having pornography or a Hooters establishment at the school. The university president, however, is expected to veto the faculty vote.

Cal Poly’s Academic Senate voted overwhelmingly in favor of blacklisting a Chick-fil-A restaurant from the school’s San Luis Obispo campus, due to the company’s owner supposedly having a “perceived opposition to the LGBTQ community,” according to KCBX News.

Thomas Gutierrez, the Academic Senate’s vice-chair who introduced the resolution, compared Chick-fil-A to pornography and Hooters in his attempt to explain why the fast-food restaurant was not welcomed on campus, according to a report by Mustang News.

“We don’t sell pornography in the bookstore and we don’t have a Hooters on campus,” said Gutierrez, “We already pre-select those kind of things based on our existing values — this is a similar thing. The difference is we’re actually profiting from this. So our money, every dollar a student is spending at Chick-fil-A, is going to these causes that are in violation of our values.”

The “causes” that Gutierrez had been referring to are the alleged “anti-LGBTQ organizations” supported by the Chick-fil-A Foundation, according to KCBX.

“[Cal Poly’s] values statement includes language that identifies LGBTQ as a classification of individuals that we want to embrace in our diversity and inclusion model,” said Gutierrez, “Then you have an organization that regularly and publicly shows up in the national news in great tension with this.”

“So if you have a mission statement that indicates that you value inclusivity and diversity, then you should be making your business decisions based on that,” added the vice-chair.

According to the university’s website, Cal Poly’s Academic Senate is the faculty governing and legislative body of the University, acting as the “principal mechanism” for recommendations by the campus community to the university president, and is comprised of approximately 50 elected faculty representatives, 4 administrators, and 2 students.

“[The] university administration and Cal Poly Corporation leadership disagree passionately with the ideologies of some of the organizations to which the president of Chick-fil-A has chosen to make personal donations,” said Cal Poly spokesperson Matt Lazier to KCBX.

“However, university administration’s disagreement with the political views of a given business owner does not give the university license to effectively censor that business and prohibit it from continuing to operate at the university,” added Lazier, insinuating that the restaurant is likely to remain on campus, despite the faculty vote.

After the vote to blacklist Chick-fil-A, the resolution was reportedly sent to Cal Poly president Jeffery Armstrong, who will then make the final decision.

“Nevertheless, I think it’s important to go into the public record that the faculty feel this way on this fairly timely issue,” said Gutierrez, acknowledging President Armstrong’s apparent decision to keep Chick-fil-A on campus.

“However, I think if students were to get involved, [Armstrong] would actually listen,” added Gutierrez, “So I really want to encourage student activists to press on.”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo and on Instagram.

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