Michigan’s only Chick-fil-A may go away

Last July, Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy incited the nation with his comments on marriage.

Since then, several universities nationwide have taken issue with Chick-fil-A restaurants remaining on their campuses.

In August, Oakland University representatives followed suit by conducting a meeting about the fate of the only Chick-fil-A in Michigan, located in OU’s Pioneer Food Court in the Oakland Center.

The meeting consisted of representatives from Chartwells, faculty, administration, the GSA, the OC and student affairs.

According to Jo Reger, associate professor of sociology and director of the Women and Gender Studies program at OU, the meeting had been planned for a month.

“The faculty there wanted to voice their opinion,” Reger said. “We really don’t feel like the organization that works against the civil rights of students, staff and faculty should be allowed on campus.”

According to Reger, the meeting was important to inform university leaders about the potential quagmire the restaurant might bring when school begins.

“I think it gave the local Chartwells people a chance to sit down face to face with a lot of concerned people at the university,” Reger said. “Nothing’s been decided at this point.”

Prior to the meeting, Dalton Connally, an assistant professor of social work, received many complaints from the public about the restaurant.

“I got email requests from the community, students and faculty and staff to get Chick-fil-A removed because it’s not congruent with our values, our anti-discrimination stance,” Connally said.

OU’s anti-discrimination policy not only protects gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals but also condemns the discrimination against any group of people regardless of race, gender or religion.

Timothy Larrabee,  associate professor of education, pushed for the university to create an anti-discrimination policy.

The policy was adopted by OU after four years of insistence by Larrabee and other faculty members.

“Ultimately, it’s the university’s responsibility to stand behind their word,” Larrabee said. “Viewpoints should be heard. At the same time, standards of fair treatment need to be upheld. That’s not up for debate … to hold this up for discussion is wrong; it’s damaging to the university.”

According to Reger, the administration has the ultimate say in the matter, but they are choosing to let Chartwells determine whether the Chick-fil-A stays or goes. Chartwells then decided the students should determine the outcome.

Connally believes students should feel safe on campus and wondering where to get their food and whether it is morally and ethically right should not be on their radar.

According to Leo Oriet, a business management student and president of the College Republicans of OU, the issue is not one of civil rights but of free speech.

“An individual openly spoke out against gay-rights,” Oriet said. “That individual just so happens to be the Chief Executive of Chick-fil-A. Naturally, the company was dragged into the debate though Chick-fil-A does not have an official stance on the issue.”

Another meeting of OU representatives will take place later this week, an event with which Larrabee is hopeful about the result.

“We’re hoping this will go smoothly,”  Larrabee said. “I think the ultimate outcome will be that Chick-fil-A will go away.”

Oriet is doubtful the restaurant will be removed and believes the student debate will not cause any disruption.


Contact Local Editor Mark McMillan via email a [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @Markamcmillan