NYU announced Thursday that it would not be banning the Chick-Fil-A franchise on campus, despite the company’s $2 million donation to organizations that oppose gay marriage. A petition begun by a Gallatin freshman in January, aiming to rid NYU of Chick-Fil-A, has gathered 10,843 signatures at the time of this publication.
In an email to the student body, NYU Student Senators Council based their decision on the claim that it would infringe on Chick-Fil-A’s freedom of speech.
“To ban any entity from campus for ideological reasons is, in most every case, to limit freedom of expression,” wrote Cotugno, chair of the Student Senators Council. Read the full email below:
According to John Beckman, NYU’s vice president of public affairs, NYU does not have a direct relationship with Chick-Fil-A. Rather, the Chick-Fil-A outlet is licensed by ARAMARK, the company that is contracted to handle all of NYU dining.
The news comes just as crowds are gathering outside of Weinstein on University Place to protest Chick-Fil-A, which is located inside the dorm building. The protest coincides with another protest that began in Washington Square Park at noon, and plans to march across Brooklyn Bridge and into Fort Greene, Brooklyn. The march, called “Cut the Bull,” is in protest of student debt, and is scheduled to coincide with today’s National Day of Action for Education.
TO: Members of the NYU CommunityFROM: Albert Cotugno, Chair, Student Senators CouncilRE: Chick-Fil-A DecisionI am writing, on behalf of the Student Senators Council (SSC), to inform you of a decision made at the end of the Fall 2011 semester regarding the presence of the Chick-Fil-A restaurant at NYU.
Last year, a concerned student brought to the attention of the Student Senators Council the alleged link between the Chick-Fil-A franchise and organizations that support marriage solely between heterosexual individuals. Over the course of the fall semester, the Student Senators Council spent considerable time and effort investigating this alleged link and discussing a potential ban of Chick-Fil-A on campus.
As a general rule, the Student Senators Council believes that freedom of expression is the most important virtue of an institute devoted to education. The SSC also believes there is a fundamental difference between personal boycott and institutional prohibition. To ban any entity from campus for ideological reasons is, in most every case, to limit freedom of expression. It is because of this fact that the Council takes the weight of evidence very seriously when considering proposed bans.
After extensive deliberation, the Student Senators Council agreed that there was insufficient evidence at this time to justify a ban of Chick-Fil-A. At this point, there have been no reported acts of discrimination on the part of the restaurant chain, according to the information presented to the council and the additional research undertaken. It is for this reason that the Council voted not to support an institutional ban of Chick-Fil-A.
The Student Senators Council encourages concerned students and other community members to continue investigating the issue and further urges them to exercise their right to personally boycott any entity that offends their moral sensibilities.