Comments by Chick-Fil-A president have unknown effect on WKU

Downing University Center is seen under construction in this May 3, 2012 file photo.

After years of staying out of the gay marriage debate, Chick-Fil-A President Dan Cathy said last week that the restaurant chain was “guilty as charged” of its support of one man, one woman families.

In an interview with the Baptist Press, Cathy said Chick-Fil-A as an organization operates on “Biblical principles.” The chain, which has more than 1,600 franchises ― including one in the Downing University Center  at WKU ― closes on Sundays and has donated money to Christian groups. 

Statements from Cathy about the restaurant’s traditional views on marriage, which also includes an unfavorable stance on divorce, have already stirred up boycotts and bans of the chain by city leaders in places like Boston and Chicago. 

At WKU, the university hasn’t released a statement about how Chick-Fil-A’s views and practices fits into the way it operates. 

Gary Meszaros, assistant vice president of Auxiliary Services, said WKU as a policy does not allow any discrimination of its students, even if that included Chick-Fil-A.

“We’re going to make sure they don’t discriminate against anybody in any way,” Meszaros said.

Meszaros said in his personal opinion, the decision to eat at the restaurant is for an individual to decide. He said he didn’t know if the university would have any part of that decision-making process.

“Each individual should have their choice in the matter,” he said.

Scottsville senior Andrew Salman, vice president of the Student Identity Outreach said he’s made his choice. He and other members of SIO already avoid the restaurant on campus. 

“I know several members of SIO don’t eat at Chick-Fil-A just out of principle, even from before this statement came out,” Salman said. “I don’t eat there ever, but for a couple reasons.”

Even if some students felt the urge to boycott, Meszaros said it may not have as large of an impact on the franchise at WKU.

Aramark is the contractor on campus for food services. Aramark still makes the same amount of money if a student eats elsewhere.

“If you ate at Izzi’s with the same money, it wouldn’t matter,” Meszaros said.

Meszaros said his department would look at replacing the franchise if enough people avoided it.

Tim Colley, district manager for Aramark, did not have a comment for this story.

Cory Dodds, WKU’s Student Government Association president, said in the future there is a possibility for SGA to get involved.

SGA has supported LGBT causes in the past. In May, SGA passed a resolution in favor of facilities for transgendered students and in 2010 passed a resolution against the denial of benefits for same-sex and opposite-sex unmarried couples.

“Not that I’m really in a position to predict anything, but I can definitely see the possibility of this not sitting well with some students,” Dodds said.

Dodds said that the topic would not likely be brought up at Friday’s Board of Regents meeting.