After Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy expressed his opposition to same-sex marriage because of his biblical beliefs, there was an uproar of media attention, social networking posts and demonstrations both affirming and condemning Cathy’s statements and the restaurant chain’s association with conservative Christian groups that have been labeled as anti-gay.
Students at schools across the country, including the University of Kansas and Washburn University, pursued petitions to remove Chick-fil-A from campus.
A change.org petition by UMKC student Chris Haywood to remove Chick-fil-A from the Student Union has gathered 794 signatures as of Aug. 18. Haywood cited Goal No. 5 in the Provost’s 10-year Strategic Plan, “to embrace diversity.”
Some students have also expressed interest in staging protests demanding Chick-fil-A’s removal from the Student Union.
However, the university has a strict policy on student protests on campus property.
“The university supports the free exchange of opinions and ideas, even unpopular ones,” said Mel Tyler, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management.
“Policies and procedures are in place to provide a safe and open environment in which to respectfully express the diversity of viewpoints that are a hallmark of a university’s mission.”
Students seeking to protest must submit a Demonstration and Rally Request to the Office of Student Involvement at least 10 days prior to the date of the event. OSI must approve a request form (found at www.umkc.edu/getinvolved/forms.asp) before the organization proceeds with the protest. All involved in the protest must be informed of the regulations, which includes prohibiting action that could discredit the student body or the university.
Students who oppose the protest may organize a counter protest following the same procedure.
Removing Chick-fil-A before the current Dining Services contract expires in August 2014 isn’t a likely scenario.
Chick-fil-A was selected by student feedback to surveys, which were conducted during the planning stages of the Student Union.
Once the current contract expires, students will be allowed to decide on changes, including Chick-fil-A’s presence on campus
Students will have many opportunities to provide feedback, according to Tyler.