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The University of New Mexico (UNM) voted on Wednesday to keep a Chick-fil-A franchise on campus, after a proposal was put forth to ban the popular fast restaurant, on the basis of company COO Dan Cathy's financial support for organizations which promote traditional marriage.
The Student Union Building (SUB) Board, which is comprised of administrators, alumni, and student representatives, voted 8-3, in favor of keeping the restaurant.
The SUB Board vote was initiated after a resolution was passed by the student government organization, the Associated Students of the UNM (ASUNM), which claimed Chick-fil-A’s divisive history of donations and statements in support of traditional marriage contributed to a hostile campus environment.
Walter Miller, the Associate Vice President for student life at UNM, oversaw the SUB Board meeting and vote on the Chick-fil-A resolution.
Miller claimed the results of a campus poll indicated most students had a positive opinion of Chick-fil-A’s services, which influenced the decision of the SUB Board to keep the chain in the student union.
“I think the research and survey results are what was important for them. To get feedback from the campus community in the whole, that was the important part,” said Miller.
Miller suggested that while most students surveyed liked the Chick-fil-A product, he encouraged those who disagreed with their political message to vote with their wallets.
“[I] think what the survey showed from a product standpoint, that’s what the people like. They don’t always agree with their [Chick-fil-A]political views, or social views, but that …those who are really opposed to some of the focuses can vote by not purchasing their product.”
Not all students were happy with the SUB Board’s decision.
Damon Hudson, a Student Senator in the ASUNM, who was a contributing author of the original resolution to remove Chick-fil-A from campus, disagreed with the SUB Board’s decision.
“I think the safety they [LGBT students] are feeling is lacking because that organization [Chick-fil-A] is around” said Hudson.
According to Hudson, the ASUNM is already working on changing the way the SUB Board selects campus restaurants.
“There are people [ASUNM members] working on making comments and moving forward with something to make sure the way the SUB selects restaurants is better mandated and such in the future,” he said.
Hudson felt the decision of the SUB created an unfair campus environment for members of the LGBT community.
“I think it’s unfair for anyone who hasn’t been in those shoes to judge it I don’t know how you can know that emotion until you’ve truly felt it,” he concluded.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @TimPDion
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