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Gay-Straight Alliance petition students against Chick-fil-A

» By BRIAN BIGELOW – bbigelow@my.apsu.edu

Eating more chicken might be contributing money to causes you may not like.

The Gay-Straight Alliance, in conjunction with the Students for Secular Humanism, have drafted a petition urging students to commit themselves to not buy food at Chick-fil-A due to numerous allegations of discrimination and financial support given to organizations with discriminatory policies.

“[Chick-fil-A has] the right to do what they want with that money, so do their owners, but we also have the right not to spend our money there,” said Ryan Whipkey, junior Political Science major and president of GSA.

The petition, posted on Change.org, has a list of grievances against the charitable arm of Chick-fil-A – the WinShape Foundation – and several groups WinShape donates money to, including the Eagle Forum, Exodus International and Focus on the Family.

“The ultimate goal of the petition is to get enough students to abstain from buying Chick-fil-A so that they will not renew their contract when it comes up for renewal,” said Bryan Tidwell, freshman and secretary of the Students for Secular Humanism.

The petition has been revised from its original version. Instead of requesting Chartwells terminate their contract with Chick-fil-A, the petition now requests a personal commitment to boycott Chick-fil-A and not contribute any money or meal plan funds to the restaurant.

Regarding the termination of Chick-fil-A on campus, Joe Mills, spoke on behalf of Chartwells and APSU Dining. “We would not make a decision of this magnitude without first getting input from the entire campus community. Chick-fil-A continues to rank first in popularity among all MUC Food Court dining options,” Mills said.

According to Whipkey, the alleged discriminatory practices are in conflict with the APSU Affirmative Action Statement, which states, in part, “The University is committed to a nondiscriminatory philosophy that extends to all constituents. In its educational activities, all are treated equally without regard to race, color, religion, ethnic or national origin, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity, disability, age or status as a covered veteran.”

The grievances listed in the petition against the Eagle Forum include opposition to “women in the military, AIDS education, marriage equality and the teaching of diversity and multiculturalism.”

According to Exodus International’s website, they seek to convert homosexuals from “acting on one’s same-sex attractions,” through “reparative therapy,” a counseling approach which attempts to eliminate homosexual attractions based on “the premise that men and women dealing with same-sex attraction are attempting to restore broken familial relationships in an insufficient, unhealthy way.”

Focus on the Family opposes sex-education programs that teach the use of condoms or other forms of birth control as well as opposing what they call the “revisionist gay theology” which describes any interpretation of biblical texts which suggests anything but explicit opposition to homosexuality, according to their website.

“The Students for Secular Humanism supports equal rights for all people including those individuals who happen to be LGBT as well as an aggressive separation of church and state,” Tidwell said. “Although SSH did not create the petition, we support it because Chick-fil-A has donated large sums of money to groups that actively oppose marriage equality.”

Chick-fil-A has been on campus for 10 years.

“The biggest reason Chartwells keeps bringing them back to campus is because it’s high revenue,” Whipkey said. “If the students would stop using the food there, then they wouldn’t make the money.”

Whipkey said they are looking to get as many signatures as possible but 500 or more would be “a good number of students.”

Fliers with QR codes that will redirect users to the petition will be posted throughout campus and additional information can be found on GSA’s Facebook page or Change.org. TAS

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