(An open letter to New York University President John Sexton)
NYUís decision to continue to allow Chick-fil-A to operate on campus is deeply troubling. As you know, Chick-fil-A has made opposition to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights an integral part of its business. The president of Chick-fil-A has made unabashedly anti-LGBT statements, and the company has pumped money into funding hate groups. Young people, including students who attend NYU and colleges and universities throughout the country, often bear the brunt of the toxic environment created by actions such as Chick-fil-Aís.
The presence of Chick-fil-A directly contradicts NYUís stated position of creating a welcoming environment. Having this anti-LGBT company on campus sends a devastating message to NYU students, for whom an affirming environment is especially important.
Banning Chick-fil-A from NYU would not, as the Student Senators Council maintains, ìlimit freedom of expression.î There is a distinction between a universityís obligation to foster academic freedom and its business prerogatives. Simply put, NYU is free to choose which companies it supports. With respect to Chick-fil-A, that choice is clear. According to a recent report, Chick-fil-A directed $2,000,000 in ostensibly charitable donations to anti-gay groups in 2010. By maintaining a business relationship with Chick-fil-A, NYU is subsidizing anti-LGBT hate.
I ask NYU to listen to its students, faculty, staff, and alumni and stop allowing this company to make money on campus. By turning a deaf ear to the NYU community, civil rights activists and elected officials, NYU is betraying the very principles it claims to uphold. Supporting an anti-LGBT company in New York City is an untenable position, and I strongly urge you to sever your relationship with Chick-fil-A.