Petition: Remove Chick-fil-A for promoting ‘inequality’
Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, July 18, 2012 13:07
UL Lafayette Director of Orientation Paul Eaton has started a petition to remove Chick-fil-A from the UL campus in retort against the company’s financial support for anti-gay organizations. Chick-fil-A’s Vice President of Corporate Public Relations Donald Perry, however, stated such claims have been misunderstood and taken out of context.
It has come to UL’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community’s attention that the fast-food chain Chick-fil-A donates millions of dollars to anti-gay foundations. According to the Huffington Post, Chick-fil-A donated approximately $5 million to “anti-gay” and “hate groups,” such as the WinShape Foundation and the Pennsylvania Family Institute, between 2003 and 2010. In response to this, Eaton began a petition to remove the Chick-fil-A location from UL’s campus.
Sodexo spokesman Enrico Dinges declares that, due to their diverse customer base, Sodexo, UL’s dining provider, provides a variety of brands — regional and national — and that Sodexo partners with restaurants based on customer feedback.
“Ultimately, our customers decide for themselves which businesses they wish to support with their dining dollars,” Dinges said. “Sodexo has set high standards for our brand partners … and Chick-fil-A meets or exceeds those requirements including quality standards, food safety and procurement practices, and operating in a responsible manner.”
Dinges said the Sodexo corporation embraces, leverages and respects the diversity of the workforce and their clientele, and that Sodexo is a benchmark company for diversity and inclusion in the industry.
“We are aware of the signon.org petition regarding Chick-fil-A… [and] we will allow Chick-fil-A to speak for itself on the specific issue raised,” Dinges stated.
Eaton explained the petition is not just reflecting his personal issues, but the personal issues of the LGBT community.
“Anti-LGBT foundations [which Chick-fil-A supports] fight for inequality,” Eaton stated, “and a university such as UL that is inclusive and diverse should not support a corporation that is actively fighting against what the university stands for.”
Eaton expressed that UL is a progressive university wherein socially progressive events occurred, such as the integration of its student body in 1954, when African-American students were admitted into the university without incident. UL is also the first university in Louisiana to offer an LGBT minor; thus, Eaton said he believes that such social milestones should not be hindered by a university affiliate that counters the progression of LGBT equality.