The controversy over Chick-Fil-A CEO Dan Cathy’s statement against gay marriage has reached all ends of the nation. The University of Maryland is no exception. Students have responded strongly to the remarks of Dan Cathy, both supporting and condemning the CEO.
One Maryland student, Kyle Milligan, of Severna Park, Md., felt strongly enough about the CEO’s statement to create a petition on change.org calling for the removal of the Chick-Fil-A from the Stamp Student Union.
Cathy’s exact remark was that “I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,’ and I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is about.”
“After some thought, [I] came to the conclusion that Chick-Fil-A’s corporate message runs counter to that of the University of Maryland, and the Stamp Student Union in particular,” Milligan said.
However, many students are outraged at the idea that Chick-Fil-A should be removed because of the CEO’s personal beliefs.
Carli Smith, a junior microbiology major at University of Maryland, said “just because that is the CEO’s religious view, that should not have such a severe consequence for the franchise to be removed from campus. Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. If you disagree on a certain issue I suggest not going there.”
“This whole thing is so out of context,” said Miles Wetherington, a junior wildlife ecology major at UMD, regarding Cathy’s comments.
Cathy, who has been open about his Christianity and the Christian foundation of Chick-Fil-A (hence it being closed on Sunday), has asserted that the Chick-Fil-A franchise discriminates against no one.
“We’re not anti-anybody, our mission is to create raving fans,” Cathy said to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
But, Milligan said his petition was not only in reaction to the CEO’s statement on gay marriage.
“Chick-Fil-A has donated millions of dollars over the past several years to groups like the Family Research council, which has lobbied Congress not to condemn Uganda’s ‘Kill the Gays’ legislation,” Milligan said.
According to the Huffington Post, Chick-Fil-A donated $1,000 to the Family Research Council in 2009. The FRC’s connection with Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” legislation is unclear.
Despite the protestors, Milligan’s petition has garnered over 900 signatures and vast student support.
“I think Chick-Fil-A’s CEO was setting himself up for disaster by publicly admitting he’s against gay marriage…[Chick-Fil-A] could be replaced with something better and healthier,” Christina Germano, a sophomore broadcast journalism and government double major at UMD said.
However, the future of Chick-Fil-A in the Stamp Student Union remains uncertain.
According to Fox D.C., Chick-Fil-A has an outstanding contract with Stamp until at least the end of this year.
“It happens to be one of the more financially successful vendors in the food court…It was the number one rated food court purveyor,” Marsha Guenzler Stevens, director of the Stamp Student Union, said in an interview with Fox D.C.
Despite the backlash from many students and the confirmation that Chick-Fil-A will remain in Stamp throughout this year, Milligan remains confident in the mission.
“I am confident that with enough student support we can pressure the University not to renew Chick-Fil-A’s contract,” Milligan said.
Photo Credit: Katie Secret
University of Maryland Stamp Student Union Chik-Fil-A