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Purdue University faculty, students consider measure to prevent Chick-fil-A from opening on campus

This summer, Purdue University announced plans to open a new residence hall in 2020, which would include a Chick-fil-A, after more than 3,000 students signed a petition to bring the franchise to campus. However, other students, as well as staff of the university, are less than thrilled by the agreement. They’re calling for the school to "promote inclusivity” by holding commercial ventures, such as the anti-LGBTQ fast-food restaurant, to the same standards as the university’s policies and hiring process.
University Senate Leadership at Purdue University, which exercises the legislative and policy-making powers assigned to the faculty at the West Lafayette, Indiana, university, have proposed a measure that would hold the school’s administration accountable for ensuring commercial ventures on the campus “uphold the same values and promote inclusivity with their policies, hiring practices and actions," according to the Journal & Courier. The measure will be put to a vote in October.
However, the measure intentionally did not name Chick-fil-A, which has donated millions to anti-LGBTQ and hate groups, according to the National LGBTQ Task Force.
“It’s bigger than that,” Audrey Ruple, chair of the University Senate’s Equity and Diversity Committee, told the Journal & Courier. “We intentionally didn’t want this to be about one business, just ‘The Chick-fil-A’ resolution.”
Jo Boileau, the university's student body president, however, was not shy about directly addressing Chick-fil-A’s owner’s controversial stances. Recently, due to owner Dan Cathy's outspoken opinion on same-sex marriage and the companies' million-dollar donations to anti-LGBTQ charities, Chick-fil-A restaurants have been blocked from opening at a Texas airport and were protested at the University of Kansas, which has served students since 2004.
“As student body president and as an openly-gay student, this is something I’m confronting on a daily basis, in conversations I’m having every single day with students on this campus,” Boileau told the Journal & Courier.
Boileau questioned what message the university was sending LGBTQ students and faculty by permitting Chick-fil-A to operate on campus.
While the measure is expected to get a formal University Senate vote in October, fellow faculty members are unsure if it will have any influence in the university's decision to allow a Chick-fil-A on campus.
“I want to be sensitive to it,” Rob Wynkoop, Purdue’s director of service enterprises, told the Journal & Courier. “But it’s something that students have called for for a long, long, long, long time. Student body presidents and their cabinets have actually run on that platform, to bring [Chick-fil-A] to campus.”
Wynkoop added that the fast-food restaurant had already been on campus for a year. In 2018, Chick-fil-A opened a pop-up style location three days a week in a building on campus.
While 3,416 students who signed the petition to bring Chick-fil-A permanently to the campus cheered the announcement, fellow peers and their professors are concerned.
“There are students, there are staff and there are faculty on this campus, who are hurting by a decision made by this university," Linda Prokopy, a professor and member of the University Senate’s Equity and Diversity Committee, said.
“Many people, when they’re not personally affected by the exclusionary principles of businesses, it’s genuinely a blind spot,” Ruple, chair of the University Senate’s Equity and Diversity Committee, told the news outlet. “For me, this is something that’s so central to how we operate as an institution, that to allow organizations onto our premises that don’t follow those same inclusivity principles actually really undermines the core of who we are.”
Representatives for Purdue’s University Senate Leadership and Chick-fil-A did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for comment.

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