Thursday, April 12, 2012

Possible Chick-fil-A at UIS angers some students, faculty

The possibility of a Chick-fil-A fast-food chicken restaurant coming to the University of Illinois Springfield campus has some students and faculty members crying “fowl.”

The controversy stems from what opponents say is Chick-fil-A’s financial support of anti-gay organizations and its founder’s pro-family stance.

“I consider it a huge slap in the face that my campus would even consider this knowing how homophobic this company is,” said Alex Williams, a UIS junior. “I would hope they would consider other options.”

Chick-fil-A, which had a store at White Oaks Mall a number of years ago, is an Atlanta-based chain specializing in chicken sandwiches. Its founder, S. Truett Cathy, is known for his religious values, including keeping the stores closed on Sundays.

The family has contributed money, mostly through the WinShape Foundation, which it controls, to various Christian and pro-family causes.

Michael Murphy, an assistant professor of women and gender studies at UIS, said the company is “notorious for its financial support of rabidly anti-gay organizations and activities” Chick-fil-A gave more than $3 million to what he considers anti-gay groups between 2003 and 2009, Murphy said.

Williams said that Chick-fil-A favors married people to work for the company and asks franchisees their marital status and degree of church involvement. The company denies those practices.

In a media statement earlier this year, Dan Cathy, president and chief operating officer of Chick-fil-A, said the company “is not anti-anybody.”

The debate was featured in an April 12, 2012, article in The State Journal-Register.

Read the article online