At Purdue University in Indiana, the Popeye’s chicken sandwich isn’t the only chicken debate happening; there’s also a debate that actually matters. Purdue University announced plans to add a Chick-Fil-A location on the first floor of a dorm building. While some students are happy with the decision, LGBT faculty and students are displeased.
It’s no secret that the Chick-Fil-A CEO Dan T. Cathy — to put it simply — hates gay people. Chick-Fil-A has donated over $1.8 million to anti-LGBT organizations in the past, and has also donated to the Salvation Army, which isn’t explicitly anti-LGBT, but does have a history of homophobia.
And as you guys know, Purdue University isn’t the only college that has thought to pair with Chick-Fil-A.
Nicholls State University in Thibodaux has a relatively new one on their campus, and our own University of Louisiana at Lafayette also has one. Of course, this also caused unhappiness on our campus.
Lucy Ferre, an LGBT sophomore studying Biology, used to eat Chick-Fil-A often because, according to her, it was the only option that wasn’t pizza.
“I find their beliefs and that they donate to conversion therapy stuff disgusting and now that I have other options, they’re not worth it at all,” Ferre said.
When asked about the message UL Lafayette’s continued usage of Chick-Fil-A sends, Ferre said, “I think it sends the message that they at least don’t care enough about being accepting and safe to take a stand, and, at worst, are condoning it.”
Ferre isn’t the only student who opposes the Chick-Fil-A on campus.
“I think there’s better options for food, and I rather not give money to a place that hates me,” said Leigh Jolivette. Jolivette is a student studying Health Information Management.
“I mean, I have eaten there and probably will do so in the future, but I try to make an effort not to,” Jovilette continued. “I feel like it’s not a direct insult or anything. I don’t love it, and I think they should have more options regardless.”
Jolivette also had a few suggestions for a wider variety of food options for students:
“Popeyes is a Louisiana-based place. Or even get another baked goods store.”
Cameryn Nezat is a gay UL Lafayette student who has a differing opinon.
“Chick-Fil-A will always fill my stomach with joy before it fills my head with anger. Sorry not sorry,” Nezat said.
Over at Purdue, Michael Alley sent a letter to the editor of Journal and Courier about the issue.
“You are greeted with kindness and served delicious chicken sandwiches,” the letter read. “I suggest you take an internal reflection of your diversity stand and discern if diversity is a true core or is the core of your logic hate? Embrace the chicken, let your hate dissipate.”
Later in the column, I’ll share my opinion on that particular statement.
Jo Boileau is the student body president at Purdue, and had something to say on the matter as well.
“As student body president and as an openly gay student, this is something I’m confronting on a daily basis, in conversations I’m having every single day with students on this campus,” Boileau said in a Journal and Courier article.
Now here’s the thing. This is an opinion column, so my opinion you shall receive.
The reason you are greeted with kindness and served delicious (debatable) chicken sandwiches at Chick-Fil-A regardless of your sexuality is because they want money. Who does? Both Chick-Fil-A as a chain and the people who work there.
Do you think the nineteen-year-old behind the counter wants to be kind to everyone? Probably not; working in fast food is hard and people are mean. They are literally paid to be kind to customers. Not only that, but Chick-Fil-A doesn’t screen their employees for homophobia, so the Chick-Fil-A workers — most of which are Gen Z kids or Millenials — are probably not homophobic.
That being said, the CEO of the company is very homophobic. Every “delicious” chicken sandwich is a little more money in his pocket that he gets to send straight to conversion therapy camps.
Don’t get me wrong, or try to play “Gotcha” and pull receipts about my past Chick-Fil-A consumption; I’m saying it here and now. I have eaten Chick-Fil-A many times in the past. It’s a place a lot of my friends like to go to, and I usually go with the flow. I probably will eat there in the future. It’s impossible to live in our current society and not support some awful company due to capitalism. There are only a few major companies, and they own everything. Have you ever seen a diagram of all of the companies Nestle or Coca-Cola owns? It’s insane. I both appreciate the aesthetic of, and am horrified by, this Disney one.
This isn’t a column to discuss the horrors of capitalism or to complain about Nestle’s unfairness. It’s meant to discuss Chick-Fil-A, and so here are my thoughts.
I think UL Lafayette would be better off with a better chicken place. A Canes would suffice. I also think the world would be better without Chick-Fil-A in general, but recognize that not supporting them is hard, and boycotting a company won’t do much. There is a much needed, larger action that needs to be taken in regards to Chick-Fil-A’s unfortunate donations. I don’t know what that action is, but I do know one thing:
The Popeye’s chicken sandwich is, in fact, better. And I don’t see Mrs. Annie from the Popeyes commercials donating to have gay people electrocuted.