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A University of Southern Mississippi (USM) professor is demanding the faculty Senate reevaluate the university’s support for "organizations that are anti-gay" including the popular fast-food chain Chick-fil-A.
"We have a nondiscrimination policy at USM that includes sexual orientation and so if we have that policy, I think to live up to that, then we should not be doing anything to support organizations that are anti-gay," associate political science Professor Kate Greene told local NBC affiliate WDAM Channel 3, regarding the Chick-fil-A controversy.
Greene, whose website says she is the “second most senior member” of the political science department, has also requested the issue be taken up by the faculty Senate, the Jackson, Ms., Clarion Ledger, reported on Wednesday.
A spokesperson for USM, however, told Campus Reform on Thursday that the University currently has no plans to remove Chick-fil-A from its campus and that the faculty Senate does not in fact hold jurisdiction over which vendors are allowed on campus.
“They can certainly make recommendations to the executive cabinet on anything they feel is an issue but they don't have that kind of authority on campus,” Van Arnold, from the office of communications told Campus Reform. “Professors have their right to discuss it and bring it to the administration but the Senate itself doesn’t have the power to say what stays or goes.”
Arnold also noted that a petition circulating that has reportedly attracted 15,000 signatures has not yet been brought to administrators and that there have been no reported instances of discrimination at the campus Chick-fil A-franchise.
Campus Reform attempted to contact Greene but a representative from the political science department at USM said she had decided to “lay low” after her previous comments had kicked up controversy was off “camping and whitewater rafting.”
The controversy over Chick-fil-A ignited last week, after the company’s president, Dan Cathy, referred to the “biblical definition of the family unit” and revealed he financially supports pro-family groups including Focus on the Family and the Family Research Center.
Chick-fil-A corporate headquarters issued a statement last week noting that donations of their CEO do not translate into company policy.
“The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect – regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender,” said the statement. “We will continue this tradition in the over 1,600 restaurants run by independent owner/operators. Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.”
Follow the author of this article on twitter: @JosiahRyan
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