In just a few short weeks, the Chick-fil-A culture wars may gravitate toward college campuses as students across the country return to class.
Campus Pride — the largest organization of LGBT college students nationwide — says that it intends to use Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy’s recent comments as leverage in its decade-long effort to remove the fast-food chain from college campuses.
“A lot of things have happened recently to educate college students about this company’s activities. When they get back on campus, there’s going to be even more direct action taking place,” says Shane Windmeyer, the executive director of Campus Pride. “We want to let students know that every time they buy Chick-fil-A, they’re supporting a company that funds hate groups.”
Campus Pride has long opposed Chick-fil-A because of WinShape, a nonprofit founded by the Cathy family in 1984. Over the years, WinShape has given money to various anti-gay groups, including the Family Research Council — which, as Windmeyer points out, is designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Campus Pride also intends to challenge food services contractors that offer Chick-fil-A on campuses. And the group will likely gain some traction there: Two of the three major providers — Aramark and Sodexo — are considered LGBT-friendly corporations by the Human Rights Campaign, and both seem to value that status.
“What Dan Cathy said, actually, I think he has every right to say. I think he has every right to own a business. In fact, I’m so glad he has finally come out as anti-gay. It makes it easier for people to choose between his company and others,” says Windmeyer. “But consumers also have the right to know what groups his company funds. It’s kind of funny that the same company that sells chicken with cows also claims to be Christian, yet funds hate groups. So I think they are very confused.”