Student group leaders concerned about Duquesne Chick-fil-A

Brandon Addeo|News Editor
The leaders of the DU Lambda Gay Straight Alliance expressed concerns about the addition of a Chick-fil-A on DU’s campus.
Brandon Addeo|News Editor
The leaders of the DU Lambda Gay Straight Alliance expressed concerns about the addition of a Chick-fil-A on DU’s campus.

Zachary Landau | Asst. A&E Editor

At the March 26 Student Government Association meeting, Senator at Large Niko Martini proposed that the SGA pass a resolution asking the university to reconsider the inclusion of Chick-fil-A as a dining option for students.

Martini is on the Lambda executive board. He clarified that he made the proposal on his own behalf and not Lambda’s.

“Chick-fil-A has a questionable history on civil rights and human rights,” he said in a statement to The Duke. “I think it’s imperative the university chooses to do business with organizations that coincide with the [university’s] mission and expectations they give students regarding diversity and inclusion.”

The SGA Senate did not pass any resolution but agreed to consider an alternate resolution to vett the Chick-fil-A Express, which senators tabled for the April 9 SGA meeting to allow time to research the concerns.

“Lambda’s leadership met recently with Auxiliary Services to share their concerns regarding Chick-Fil-A’s corporate position on LGTBQIA+ issues,” said Alia Pustorino-Clevenger, director for student life assessment and co-curricular community engagement, and also Lambda’s faculty advisor. “They will continue to have meetings in the upcoming weeks with Auxiliary Services and Parkhurst to address this matter further.”

Lambda President Rachel Coury personally said she worries the safety provided by Gay-Straight Alliance might be in jeopardy.

“I’ve tried very hard within the last semester and a half to promote this safe environment for the LGBTQ+ community,” Coury said. “So I fear that with the Chick-fil-A being in Options that maybe people will feel that safe place is at risk.”

Duquesne announced March 20 the addition of the Chick-fil-A Express to the Options Food Court beginning in the upcoming fall semester. The decision to add a Chick-fil-A was a response to student feedback, according to Duquesne spokeswoman Bridget Fare.

“The decision was announced as soon as the due diligence activities, including working with the City on permitting for the renovations, were undertaken and approved,” Fare said.

Chick-fil-A has faced controversy in the past for financially backing organizations that are accused of supporting anti-LGBT rhetoric.

Coury expressed concerns over the company’s history of supporting organizations that “are specifically anti-gay organizations.”

Fare said that the fast food company “has assured [Duquesne] that they do not discriminate.” She also said that “Chick-Fil-A informed the University that they ceased giving to Focus on the Family and Exodus International several years ago and have eliminated corporate donations and established a foundation with focuses on youth and education.”

In a statement provided by Chick-fil-A, Manager of External Communications Amanda Hannah said that the Chick-fil-A Foundation, the company’s philanthropic arm, focuses on youth and education.

“Only organizations directly aligned with that mission are funded,” Hannah said. “Programs with social or political agendas are not included in that giving.”

Reporting from the left-leaning website ThinkProgress revealed that the Chick-fil-A Foundation donated $1,017,610 to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in 2014.

The FCA has a “Sexual Purity Statement” for its volunteers and staff. It includes stipulations such as, “The Bible is clear in teaching on sexual sin including sex outside of marriage and homosexual acts. Neither heterosexual sex outside of marriage nor any homosexual act constitute an alternative lifestyle acceptable to God.”

Coury is aware of Chick-fil-A’s efforts for inclusivity. However, she would like Duquesne to acknowledge there is still some tension.

“It would be a really big deal for Lambda and the whole LGBTQ community on campus if someone could make a statement to eliminate the fear of being marginalized by having this business on campus,” Coury said.

The response from the Duquesne community to the addition of the Chick-fil-A has been mostly positive, according to Fare.

Students seem to appreciate having extra choices for on-campus dining but are dubious about Chick-fil-A’s dealings.

Madison Seffrin, a senior computer science student, said that she thinks the new addition is “a good thing.”

“I think it gives us another option, and it’s more food choices that make us comparable to other colleges that have a lot more chain restaurants on their campus, which is something I think we lack,” Seffrin said.

When asked about Chick-fil-A’s association with non-profits that expose homophobic rhetoric, Seffrin said that she does not “necessarily” agree with “some of those aspects,” but does think they are “a relatively stand-up company.”

She said she is bound to have some differences of opinion with the company’s policies.

“It’s almost inevitable that a place that closes its doors on a Sunday will also not support some of the things that I support,” Seffrin said.

Similar sentiments were expressed by Alex Slater, a freshman economics student.

“I enjoy Chick-fil-A food and I eat there [in my hometown],” Slater said.

Slater had heard of the controversy surrounding the chain and disapproves of their connections to anti-LGBT groups.

“I don’t believe that should be something they should be involved in,” he said. “But that is something that warrants discussion and if it’s something that people are not comfortable with, that should be discussed as well.”

Chick-fil-A released a statement July 2012 that “going forward” they would “leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.” Tax filings for 2012 also showed that the company’s other charitable arm, the WinShape Foundation, has ceased funding to all but one of the groups — the aforementioned FCA — accused of anti-LGBT practices.

SGA President Olivia Erickson expressed her and SGA’s intention to look into Martini’s and Coury’s apprehensions.

“We at SGA take this concern [about the installation of a Chick-fil-A on campus] very seriously,” Erickson said. “We are working on gathering students’ opinions and getting all the facts we can so we can make the best decision.”

“We serve as the voice of the students,” Erickson said. “SGA has a positive relationship with administration in order to function as liaisons for the students.”


  1. I’m kind of surprised that the “Social Justice Warriors!” are not seeing the great opportunity here before them – by having a Chik-Fill-A ( or “Evil Nazi Homophobe Sandwich Shop”) right there on campus they could proudly boycott them every single day and preen and take selfies and call themselves heroes fighting oppression or whatever delusions they suffer from. Maybe even further “social justice” by demanding that the vile oppressive Christians offer halal and cruelty-free vegan menu items….maybe a special menu for Hindus free of all cow products…..

  2. Where is the Catholic Church at Duquesne University? Is there a priest on campus or bishop a bishop in the diocese who will preach the teaching of the church or read the paragraphs of the Catechism that deal with homosexuality? Or is Duquesne just another Catholic In Name Only school?

    Your Silence is Deafening and the faithful are being scandalized.

    Where is our Church? You are wasting yet another teaching moment.

  3. Please tell me just what doesn’t offend these liberal snowflakes? The real world is going to eat you up and spit you out.

  4. It is very telling that one can attend Duquesne University without ever encountering the Catholic truth that there is no such thing as a “gay” or “transgendered” person. There are only people – like all of us – in varying degrees of spiritual and psychological brokenness, in need of compassion, the sacraments, and repentance. One has to wonder if there is anything Catholic left at Duquesne. Judging from the bloviating of the Administration, one would have to presume not.

  5. aww, poor wittle snowflakes feelings are hurt..ya know kids..lifes tough, grab a frickin helmet and grow up..the real world aint gonna cater to you or give you safe spaces to color or suck your thumb( or whatever you suck)

  6. This is clear evidence that trustifarian losers at 3rd rate schools for Ivy league rejects should not be hired UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.
    That these degenerate halfwit snowflakes really think that they’re of even average intelligence is hilarious.

  7. Get a grip students. There’s a real world out there you’ll soon discover and there are no “safe spaces” except MAYBE your room. Stop flaking out.

  8. And this is an Institution of Higher learning? Very questionable at the least. Check your history folks, without the “God” based Universities founded in this country in our infancy, many of our schools would not exist! I pity your closed attitudes and bigotry. This is not about food, it is about a culture that is feeding upon itself and about to consume themselves with insanity. When tragedy strikes this nation again, and it will, where will those of you lost in your own self pity run….the first words out of your mouths will be ” God help us”. Mark my words, I have heard this said every time stress upon our society comes.

  9. The Democrat Party has “a questionable history on civil rights and human rights” yet I doubt that stopped Mr. Martini from joining.

  10. Pretty ironic that these students are arguing for more “inclusion” by Chick-Fil-A, but want the university to “reconsider inclusion” of Chick-Fil-A on the campus. You can’t have it both ways. Your hypocrisy is stunning. You will find out very quickly that that world is not full of “safe spaces”–in fact, there are very few places that will tolerate your narcissistic, pampered, immature behavior.

  11. “So I fear that with the Chick-fil-A being in Options that maybe people will feel that safe place is at risk.” Wow. When some fried chicken threatens your safety, it’s time to check into a psychiatric hospital.

  12. When did it become such a political issue for people to operate a business according to their own beliefs and conscience? Chick-Fil-A has the best customer service I have ever seen in a fast food chain. The employees are all very pleasant and efficient. Grow up you big babies, if you don’t want to eat there, don’t! go to one of those places that treats their customers like it is an imposition to serve them.

  13. Martino states that “Chick-fil-A has a questionable history on civil rights and human rights,” Please provide ANY documentation that Chick-Fil-A has violated ANYONE’S civil or human rights. Just because you don’t agree with someone’s position doesn’t mean your civil rights have been violated. Ms. Martino, are you really so fragile that a restaurant scares you and do you seriously fear for your safety by its presence? My gosh, just how are you going to survive in the real world when you leave your little college “safe space”?

  14. CFA hires women, men, minorities, gays and straight.

    They also care about the families, and shut down on Sundays so you can spend more time with your family, white, black, asian, gay or straight families.

    Being Diverse also means viewpoints from all sides.. not just from one side. Life isn’t about “safe spaces.” We all have to deal with things we may or may not like. If you have an issue with CFA, don’t eat there, but don’t dictate to the entire student body and staff/faculty, where they can or can’t eat. If I want CFA, I should have it. If I don’t care for one other vendor, I ignore them. Would you prefer Subway, the same Subway that has shown to not have 100% real chicken in their meats, or that employed a pedophile for years???

  15. Nothing surprises me anymore. Poor little snowflakes. Cry babies being intolerant of ANYBODY who dares to have a different opinion.

  16. Seriously? They feel threatened by a restaurant? The restaurant workers are not going to attack them or refuse to serve gay guests. If you don’t support their viewpoint, eat at another restaurant. It’s that simple. And guess what? When you get a “real job”, you are not going to be catered to and you will have to even work WITH people who do not agree you. Get a life. Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion and just because they don’t agree with you does not mean they hate you. All this talk about “safe spaces” just scares me. What in the world has happened to the college aged kids of today? It sure seems like they need baby beds and pacifiers, when they should be growing up and becoming adults.

  17. What an absolute disgrace, and a lie. There is no such “questionable history” with Chickfila regarding human rights. Their policies are public information. the Liberofascists are relentless.

  18. Diversity = anti-White anti-Male. Multicultural = anti- Christianity, anti-America culture. Colleges have become little Stalinist training grounds to brainwash children into hating America, Liberty, Free markets (Capitalism).
    The polices these stupid student want would create what is happening in Venezuela here in the USA.
    Diversity of THOUGH is very lacking in Collages. All professors and administrators should be fired and be replaced with Americans that love this country are are will to exchange ideas.
    You can hear the chains rattle on these students, as they claim they want more freedoms.

  19. If I were gay and an activist, I would use this tactic: encourage gays apply for work there and frequent the restaurant in big numbers and making it safe haven for them. I mean Chik-Fil-A rhymes with Gay, for Pete’s sake. Make it yours!

  20. I appreciate that a Catholic University supports a company that has previously opposed the nonsense that is same-sex “marriage”. Those students are out of touch with the ethos of the institution they choose to study in.

  21. Poor little snowflakes. This is what happens when you raise a generation of spoiled rotten brats that have never been disciplined once in their life. They’ve never been exposed to the real world to be able to deal with anything. This is what happens when everyone gets a participation trophy. Grow up children. Stop listening to your idiot liberal professors. They’re making morons out of you.

  22. Perhaps the real intolerant people, those voting against this chain, should look outside their echo chamber and see who goes over and beyond to actually help others.

    I’m receiving reports that Chick-fil-A employees have been taking water out to protesters. Christian or no, you can’t help but respect that.
    6:21 PM – 1 Aug 2012
    My roommate is a manager at @ChickfilA & said he handed out dozens of bottles of water to pro-gay protesters outside the store #TotalBigot
    4:52 AM – 2 Aug 2012

    Yeah, they’re horrible.
    The Orlando-area location made an exception in the wake of the deadly mass shooting at Pulse nightclub that happened early Sunday morning. Chick-fil-A employees made food and gave it away free to people who were waiting to donate blood and to those responding to the shooting.
    In 2015, restaurants in north Texas served victims and volunteers during severe storms, and in 2014, Chick-fil-A in Birmingham, Alabama fed hundreds of motorists stranded on highways during a snow storm.

  23. If you feel threatened, or think others will feel threatened, by the mere presence of a restaurant, you need psychological counseling. It is NOT normal, mature, rational behavior, especially for someone in college.

  24. I cannot believe the leader of this organization pulled the “safe place” card. If you feel that Chik Fil A threatens you in any way, then DO NOT EAT THERE. This could ruin a potentially great addition to campus dining for many students all because of one persons hurt feelings. Ridiculous.

  25. The best way to vote and be heard is with your dollar. By giving money to an organization that is anti-inclusivity and imposes their religious beliefs on their workers (through the lack of contraceptive care, hours on Sunday, etc) and indirectly, their patrons, we are empowering a pro-hate company. Furthermore, nothing in this article states that the removal of the chick fil a is immanent, it is only asking us to consider how we use our money to support organizations.

    • This comment, ostensibly from a professor (who clearly has an agenda) is, in itself, hate-filled and full of “microaggressions”. Clearly they have no real knowledge, only a handful of tired arguments which have no objectivity. Chic-Fil-A has absolutely NO policies which are anti-inclusive, routinely hires people of all persuasions and orientations, and in fact has been consistently rated as one of the best companies in the US to work for. I applaud the other commentators, especially the LGBT+ students, for their dismission of this brand of muckraking!

    • Prof Plum It is because of people like you that I will not consider encouraging kids to go to college. There are alternatives and not being taught like disoriented people as yourself would be better for kids anyway! I have 2 grandchildren that I will pay to go to a trade school but not college. You guys are nuts!

    • @ProfPlum – “The best way to vote and be heard is with your dollar.” I agree, which is why I eat CFA at least once weekly.

      ” By giving money to an organization that is anti-inclusivity and imposes their religious beliefs on their workers (through the lack of contraceptive care, hours on Sunday, etc) and indirectly, their patrons, we are empowering a pro-hate company”

      No, “anti-inclusivity” is the blatant anti-Christian bigotry you’re displaying in this post. CFA employees can free themselves of the brutal oppression of not working Sundays or not having birth control as part of a health plan by paying for their own birth control or finding other employment. The Supreme Court already decided that you don’t get to force people to violate their religious beliefs. Get over it.

      “Furthermore, nothing in this article states that the removal of the chick fil a is immanent, it is only asking us to consider how we use our money to support organizations.”

      The fact that it is even an issue is ridiculous. Student feedback indicates support for the restaurant. Those same students (and their parents) are also contributors to “our money”. The only reason this is an issue is because one left winger is using the modicum of influence she was granted to punish those with whom she disagrees…which will come in handy if she wishes to follow the path to a tenure-track position at Duquesne.

    • Prof Plum:
      Uhhhh, What? A business operates as IT sees fit to serve ITS customers. A business does NOT operate to serve its employees.
      A pro-hate company? No.
      An intolerant commenter who demands tolerance of others w/out offering it freely of him/herself? Yes.
      You are on the wrong side of this one, Professor. You only have opinions to back yourself up and not a single fact.

  26. We attended a Catholic University. Chick-Fil-A is simply running its business in a Christian way. They go hand in hand. If you don’t like it feel free to skrt to a more liberal college, but we don’t need your negativity here.

  27. As a member of the gay community, I don’t feel like a fast food option being added to campus threatens my gay identity. At all. Subway has a history of being advertised by someone who is in jail for child porn. Do you believe small children feel threatened on campus? No. Because you can’t associate an entire company with one person’s actions.
    The majority of my friend group is part of the gay community. None of us feel threatened. None of us feel like our “safe space” is being invaded. Obviously, I cannot speak for the entire gay community at Duquesne, but neither can the exec board of one club on campus. I think it’s a little unnecessary to repeatedly say that we feel so threatened if we don’t.
    I’m gay. I love Chick-Fil-A. Do I appreciate that they have made anti-gay movements in the past? No, obviously. But putting a small store on campus is not going to decimate the apparent “safe space” we have here. It’s chicken. It’s fine. Focus on a bigger issue.

    • “Do I appreciate that they have made anti-gay movements in the past?”
      Common error — pro traditional marriage is not anti-gay, and anti-gay is not against a person.

  28. But, it is just food. If you don’t like it, don’t eat there. And if you are worried about your money going to Chick-Fil-A, go to a different school. It’s all about choices, and not everyone must choose to follow a specific opinion or be shamed into accepting beliefs that are different than their own. We can still respect a difference of opinion.

    Even the University of Pittsburgh has a Chick-Fill-A, so I would hope that Duquesne continues its plan of putting one into Options. IN MY OPINION, their chicken is delicious.

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