(Photo: AP Images / Chick-fil-A, Inc.)
Indiana University South Bend has reinstated Chick-fil-A in its two dining halls after two weeks of suspension, university officials said.
After reviewing of the company following uproar over its marriage stance, the university is allowing Chick-fil-A to resume serving students and faculty chicken sandwiches. The nearby franchise had been prevented from delivering and selling their products on campus since Jan. 10.
IUSB suspended service of Chick-fil-A sandwiches in two of its dining halls after staff members expressed concern with the company’s stance on gay marriage.
The concern was fueled by blogs and online petitions from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community surrounding food donation from two Philadelphia Chick-fil-A locations to a Pennsylvania Family Institute marriage seminar.
PFI openly champions a traditional definition of marriage as part of its public policy platform.
Both PFI and Chick-fil-A attempted to clear up the confusion.
PFI’s Michael Geer clarified that the Chick-fil-A owners who agreed to help with the food were just being “good neighbors.” He emphasized that no money was exchanged, and the owners were not endorsing PFI’s mission or agenda.
Dan Cathy, president of Chick-fil-A, defended the owners’ actions in a Facebook video saying, “Operators simply agreed to provide sandwiches and brownies for the events as many Chick-fil-A franchisees have done over the years for community events, businesses and civic groups.”
He continued, “Providing food to this event or any event is not an endorsement of the mission, political stance or motives of this or any other organization.”
News of the university’s decision to suspend the fast food chain drew complaints from some in the Christian community.
Jim Daley of Focus on the Family wrote on his blog that the “ban” could be translated to mean, “Those who support (or even hint at supporting) traditional marriage are not welcome.”
World Congress of Families Director Larry Jacobs said of the activists urging customers to protest the chain, “They fear an open debate on their agenda and discussion of the importance of natural marriage, they invariably seek to silence dissenting voices.”
In the university’s statement, Chancellor Una Mae Reck replied that she respects all voices.
“I heard from many students, faculty, staff, alumni and citizens from across the area, the state and the country. No one was shy about their point of view,” Reck said of the process.
IUSB spokesman Ken Baierl said the original decision to suspend the fast food restaurant’s food service was meant to give the campus’ chancellor the opportunity to investigate the matter, not ban them from campus.
Baierl would not specifically tell The Christian Post who university officials met with. However, at the end of the process, Reck concluded that Chick-fil-A has the right to support whomever it chooses to support.
“Chick-fil-A is an American company that has the right to provide its food and resources to any event it wants to support. The South Bend franchise, in particular, has been very supportive of IU South Bend and all of our students,” she said.
Reck ended the university’s investigation on January 31 and on Wednesday allowed the company to sell its food products on campus.
“Upon review, it is clear that the local Chick-fil-A franchise providing sandwiches to the campus in no way violates the letter or spirit of those policies,” she stated.
The local Chick-fil-A franchise has been notified of this decision and has already resumed its full service to the campus.