Students seek to drive only Chick-fil-A in New York City off NYU’s campus

Campus Reform Reporter
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A group of New York University (NYU) students are circulating a petition which accuses Chick-fil-A owners of “human rights violations” over their financial support for non-profit pro-family influence groups.

The document, which so far has attracted just over 15,000 of 20,000 hoped for signatures, also calls for administrators to use a loophole in school rules to expel the popular chicken sandwich store campus.

“NYU prides itself on being a diverse, open and inclusive campus community”, reads the petition, posted in March by student Hilary Dworkoski. “[M]aintaining a contract with an anti-gay vendor like Chick-fil-A undermines what makes this university so great.”

View the  petition “New York University: Stop serving anti-gay Chick-fil-A on campus.”

In particular, Dworkoski accused Chick-fil-A of harboring an “agenda against anyone," and complains that its owners donated at least $2 million to 2009 to support  “anti-gay” groups including mainstream evangelical groups Focus On The Family and the Family Research Council.

One obstacle to the student's quest to ban the chicken sandwich store is a student rule at NYU which does not allow the expulsion of vendors for political reasons. Organizers, however, think they have found a loophole by attempting to accuse Chick-fil-A of a “human rights violation.”

“The NYU Student Senators Council recently voted not to remove vendors for political reasons,” explains Dworkoski. “[T]hey did retain that the school could remove vendors that violate human or labor rights.”

“As Secretary Clinton recently announced, ‘gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights,’” she concluded.

The Merriam-Webster defines human rights as “rights (as freedom from unlawful imprisonment, torture, and execution) regarded as belonging fundamentally to all persons.”

In an email-statement  to Campus Reform last week Dworkoskiall explained that her goal is simply to raise awareness on the issue and to pressure the university through a barrage of emails to NYU’s president.

“I really want to do with the petition is use it to help spread awareness about this issue and put pressure on NYU because every signature is another email sent to the entire list of people I am petitioning, including the president of NYU,” she told Campus Reform.

The president of the of the conservative Young Americans for Liberty chapter on campus, Michael Lisovetsky, however, told Campus Reform that liberal students on campus are simply attempting to bully a legitimate enterprise.

“I think a business should be able to do what they want with their own profits”, said Lisovetsky. “It should be each student’s choice to eat there, or not eat there. Students shouldn’t impose their own choices on everyone else.”

Organizers of the petition also hosted two student demonstrations against Chick-fil-A in March.

A national outrage against Chick-fil-A began was reignited last week when the restaurant chain’s president, Dan Cathy, made comments on a radio show affirming the company’s support for traditional marriage.

Since those remarks were made, the mayors of both Boston and Chicago have expressed a wish to keep Chick-fil-A out of their cities.

NYU is far from the only campus in the nation where students are seeking to expel Chick-fil-A.

Louisiana State University at Alexandria has a protest circulating to do away with Chick-fil-A at their school, and students at the University of South Dakota and South Dakota State University are petitioning to halt plans to bring the restaurant chain to their respective campuses.

Follow the author of this article on twitter: @MarjorieJeffrey