More than 600 invitations were sent to Emory students inviting them to attend a strategy meeting yesterday to discuss a campaign for ousting Chick-Fil-A from Cox Hall, but the event only attracted five attendees – including only four students as well as the Director of the Office of LGBT Life Michael Shutt.
Controversy surrounding Chick-fil-A arose this July when the company’s President Dan Cathy publicly stated his opinion on the “traditional family.”
Since then, a committee calling for Chick-fil-A’s removal from Emory’s Cox Hall Food court has formed.
College junior Dohyun Ahn, one of the leaders of the group, said he was disappointed by the low turnout but wants to continue the discussion of Chick-Fil-A’s presence at Emory.
Despite 13 students accepting the online invitation for yesterday’s meeting on the group’s Facebook page, “Support all Emory Students, Say No to Chick-Fil-A,” Ahn cited general apathy and scheduling conflicts as the main reasons behind the low turnout.
“We invited over 600 students on the Office of LGBT Life List-Serv, which is a list of people that have requested to be involved with the office,” Ahn said. “Many students don’t feel that this issue directly affects them so they choose not to take up the issue.”
Still, the small group were able to discuss a variety of options to help persuade both Sodexo, Emory’s food service provider, and the University administration to remove Chick-fil-A from campus.
Andy Ratto, a fourth year political science graduate student, spent two months drafting a letter to send to University President James W. Wagner regarding Chick-fil-A’s presence at Emory.
“[President] Wagner knows there is an opposition towards Chick-fil-A from the gay community, [but administrators] have been able to escape [the issue] for a while on making a decision,” Ratto said. “This letter will allow us to force them to make a decision.”
During the meeting, Shutt explored the possibility of asking students to boycott Chick-fil-A.
He brought up ideas to help spread awareness of this potential boycott – such as setting up a Wonderful Wednesday booth, hanging a banner on Asbury Circle and holding a demonstration on the Quadrangle to advocate for the boycott.
“Neither Chick-fil-A nor Dan Cathy have said that they will stop funding hate groups,” said Ahn. “Nothing has been confirmed, there are no tax records. Chick-fil-A hasn’t said anything; it’s just simply rumor.”
– By Dustin Slade