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Northeastern cancels Chick-fil-A plans after student group denounces chain

Posted by Your Town  February 28, 2012 06:27 PM

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Plans to bring a Chick-fil-A fast food restaurant to the Northeastern University campus have been canceled after the student government denounced the chain over its support of groups opposed to gay and lesbian rights.

In a move applauded by the university, the student Senate passed a resolution, 31 to 5 with eight abstentions, Monday night “stating that the student body does not support bringing CFA [Chick-fil-A] to campus,” the association said via social media.

“The decision tonight was based on all of the student feedback we've been receiving,” the Northeastern Student Government Association said on Twitter, adding in a later re-tweet that: “Student concerns reflected CFA's history of donating to anti-gay organizations.”

The college's student newspaper, the Huntington News reported that the restaurant chain, one of several vendors in the midst of finalizing contract negotiations with Northeastern, had planned to open in the school's student center following renovations there. The newspaper reported earlier that a petition opposing the eatery's plans had gained some 300 signatures.

The Equality Matters website reported that the Atlanta-based company's charitable arm, WinShape, has donated millions to anti-gay causes in recent years.

"Based on the outcome of Monday night's senate resolution, Chick-fil–A will not be part of the group of vendors considered for the renovation of the student center," Northeastern said in a statement.

“We are proud of the decision that affirms our university’s commitment to be an inclusive, diverse community that is respectful of all," college spokeswoman Renata Nyul said in another statement.

Northeastern senior Taylor Cotter, a member of the college's student Senate, said she had been urging the school to end negotiations with Chick-fil-A since she learned of the plan more than a year ago.

The 22-year-old journalism major said opponents were able to raise awareness about the fast-food chain in recent weeks.

"I'm very excited and really, really surprised this is the decision [the university's administration] come to," she said. "We didn't expect them to cut the contract with Chick-fil-A.

"If this had come to our campus, the university would have had to admit that tuition money was, as the end of the day, going to anti-gay and hate-filled organizations, and I don't think they wanted that," she added.

Northeastern is the latest college campus to raise concerns about the company. The issue has also arisen at New York University, Marshall, and Duke, among other places.

The company did not respond to several requests for comment today.

In an interview last month with The Atlanta-Journal Constitution, Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy defended the company and said he was not "anti-anybody. ... Our mission is to create raving fans."

The chain has two outlets in Massachusetts: at the North Shore Mall in Peabody and at the Burlington Mall.

E-mail Matt Rocheleau at mjrochele@gmail.com.
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