The P.C. police at a university in New York have successfully deprived their fellow students of access to a popular fried chicken chain, for all the reasons you’ve already heard before — this time at a college that is at least nominally Catholic.
According to the Fordham University student paper, The Fordham Observer, and further reported by The College Fix’s Rebecca Downs, the decision to decline a proposal to open a Chick-fil-A on campus came late last month after backlash from students at the Jesuit institution who smeared the corporation as anti-gay.
The student groups that were consulted in responding to the proposal were the United Student Government (USG), the Commuter Students Association (CSA), the Residence Hall Association (RHA) and the Rainbow Alliance [a student LGBT group].
The Rainbow Alliance was consulted in the decision-making process because of a controversy regarding Chick-Fil-A’s stance on LGBTQ issues that has been stirred up to varying degrees since 2012. That year, the family that owns the fast food chain made public statements against marriage equality, a stance backed up by several million dollars in donations they have made over the years to organizations working actively against same-sex marriage. When the chain opened their first location in New York in 2015, they faced protests on the issue.
Representatives from Chi[c]k-Fil-A offered to collaboratively run unspecified programming with the Rainbow Alliance in conjunction with the rollout of a venue on campus. Due to continued concerns regarding this issue, however, the Rainbow Alliance unanimously voted against the proposal. Several students independently reached out to USG to voice their concerns, according to then-USG president Leighton Magoon, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’17.
“If they want to bring in Chick-Fil-A, they can bring in Chick-Fil-A,” Rainbow Alliance Co-President Renata Francesco told the paper. “But we’re not going to partner with an institution, a corporation that has so strongly supported other institutions that work to destabilize and demolish movements for queer equity.”
Yet this clear kowtow was not enough. Other students quoted in the story want the school to buy even further into their sexual and biological beliefs. The quote from Francesco’s counterpart, who doesn’t see this move as anything to celebrate, is also quite telling.
“This is something that I don’t want to congratulate Fordham for, like ‘Oh my [G]od, I’m so glad that you can see this. You’re such a good person,’” Rainbow Alliance co-president Roberta Munoz said. “I don’t want to pat them on the back. You can’t say ‘Oh you’re such a great ally’ when there’s still so many issues with our queer students. Like great, love it, but keep going.”
Indeed, the school’s administration, once having capitulated to the demands of the world, will received no applause for doing so, only more demands. There’s a lesson in that for all of us.
The message this sends to the public is pretty stark. A Jesuit school with one of the worst-ranked dining systems in the country and a dearth of outside vendors to supplement that system has decided to turn down a proposal from one of the most successful food chains in America, which has made a concerted effort to offer a slate of healthy options.
Certainly, the placement of a chicken joint on campus is far from a doctrinal issue and a school’s Catholicity is not measured by its food court, but the context of the decision sends a fairly clear message to students, applicants, and donors about whose message carries weight on campus, what will not be permitted on the grounds, and why.
But the bigger question here lies with the students who simply will not materially cooperate with people who have publicly disagreed with their politics.
What did these students demanding a chicken-sandwich-free campus and “trans-inclusive spaces” (think biological males in the ladies’ room) expect when they filled out an application and signed a tuition check to a Catholic school? Do they know what the Catholic Church actually believes about marriage?
The Catechism of the Catholic Church certainly isn’t a secret, and – despite the great deal of confusion sown by some Pope Francis’ public statements – the Church’s doctrines on marriage, the family, and the nature of man and woman (which align for the most with those espoused by Chick-fil-A’s oft-pilloried owning family) are as intrinsic and immutable today as they were two millennia ago.
Certainly, if these kids subscribe to the standard political wish list prescribed by the cadre class of this movement and refuse to partner with institutions who disagree with them, why in the world would they continue to prop up a Catholic institution by voluntarily attending it? When exactly do they stop?
It’s hard to tell if this inconsistency is humorous or just sad. It’s probably a mix of both.
However, given the school’s willingness to cave to a student group whose positions stand diametrically opposed to Church teaching, it’s not hard to see where these students’ clear confusion comes from.