Over the last several weeks, debate over the future of Chick-fil-A Thursdays at the Daily Grind has been intensifying.
According to members of St. Mary’s Triangle & Rainbow Society (STARS) and Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Chick-fil-A has been donating money to organizations that oppose both gay marriage and civil rights for the LGBTQ community.
In response to this revelation, the members of these clubs have organized a boycott in an attempt to inform students about the actions of Chick-fil-A, as well as to increase support from community members to find alternate options for students.
Every Thursday, students from both STARS and SDS will table in front of the campus center by the entrance to the Daily Grind.
They hand out informational sheets about whom Chick-fil-A has supported and why the Daily Grind should no longer purchase food from them.
These members have also been asking students to sign their petition to pledge their support for the cause and not to eat Chick-fil-A.
Tyson Morgan, a senior and member of STARS, said that the goal of this boycott “is that the St. Mary’s Campus Store and Daily Grind, in conjunction with the students, will immediately start seeking an alternate option to Chick-fil-A that doesn’t have such a deplorable record on human rights.”
Even though students were aware of this boycott through word of mouth and social media like Facebook, members of the Administration were not told of the protest until several weeks into the process.
“I first heard about the boycott through email from Joanne Goldwater on [February 9th],” said Richard Wagner, Manager of the Campus Store, “I am just trying to find the facts and to have a better understanding of the situation.”
Morgan, in a letter to the faculty, states that Chick-fil-A’s actions “do not reflect the ideals and principles that St. Mary’s strives to maintain.”
While breaking down the Mission Statement, Morgan believes that Chick-fil-A on campus does not “foster social and ethical development” nor can the College be considered “a living legacy to the ideals of tolerance.”
“The problem here is the difficulty to find information,” said Wagner, “but [Chick-fil-A] has not violated any SMCM policies.”
Even though they advocate for the total removal of Chick-fil-A products from the Campus Store, Morgan did establish an ideal time for the removal.
“While we encourage patrons of the Grind to refrain from purchasing Chick-fil-A,’ said Morgan, “we ask that Chick-fil-A not be removed from the Daily Grind until a suitable alternative is found.”
Morgan continued by saying “we are currently taking suggestions from students and would greatly appreciate a collaboration of efforts between students and St. Mary’s faculty and staff.”
Wagner echoed this comment when he said “we are open to other options; we are simply trying to provide options for students.”
Both the Campus Store and STARS/SDS are looking for feedback about the boycott and alternate options that the Campus Store should consider.
“I want to hear from everyone, either if you agree or disagree with the boycott,” said Wagner.
There is sure to be more debate over the issue of Chick-fil-A in the coming weeks but Wagner was pleased that the debate “is being civil.”