When Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy unveiled his fried, boneless breast of chicken sandwich in 1946, he had no idea that 66 years later college students like Taylor Cotter would protest his restaurant's inclusion on their campuses.
Last week the Student Senate at Northeastern University in Boston voted to halt discussions with the privately held Atlanta, Ga.-based restaurant chain, citing the company's affiliation with Christian organizations they say have an "anti-gay" agenda.
Taylor Cotter, a senior journalism major who has been a member of the school's student senate for three years, led the protest to oust Chick-fil-A, but was "shocked" when the university gave in so quickly to the students' demands.
"I first found out that the school was interested in Chick-fil-A in January of 2011," Cotter told The Christian Post in a phone interview. "Only about 15 of us knew of the school's plan for several months and that's when I grew concerned about a company who supports causes that I feet are divisive."
Cotter stated there were two primary issues that led her to lead the protest.
First, since Northeastern is not a school that is affiliated with any religious entity, she felt the school should not support businesses that choose to contribute to organizations that she sees as having an "anti-gay" agenda. Some of the organizations that Chick-fil-A support are Focus on the Family, Exodus International and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Chick-fil-A normally operates through franchise agreements with individuals and companies, but Cotter claims that was not the case at Northeastern and that the university would have entered into a business arrangement with their food vendor that would ultimately involve money derived from students.
"The other reason I opposed Chick-fil-A on campus was that I didn't want any portion of my student tuition going to support a company that I don't agree with," added Cotter.
However, officials with schools such as New York University who have similar arrangements with Chick-fil-A, say no portion of student dollars are going directly to the company.
"The University does not have a direct relationship with Chick-Fil-A," Philip Lentz , the school's director of Public Affairs told HuffPost. "ARAMARK is the University's restaurant vendor and Chick-Fil-A is licensed by ARAMARK to lease a restaurant on NYU's Greenwich Village campus."
Students at NYU have also circulated a petition to oust Chick-fil-A, but the university has taken no action on their request.
When asked if she agreed that any organization or company has the right to support causes they agree with, she said "definitely, I'm totally in support of any organization doing whatever they want with their money. But I also wanted students to feel safe and accepted when they were in the Student Center."
Cotter, who will graduate in May, says she grew up "Irish" Catholic and attended Catholic schools before entering Northeastern. "I'm not personally 'anti-Christian,'" she said. "I consider myself a Democrat and someone who cares about equality."
But Chick-fil-A disagrees with the issues brought forward by the students.
"We're a restaurant that has a hospitality that says we're here to embrace everyone who wants to come and be part of Chick-fil-A," said Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy. "So to be identified with some sort of hate group that has a political agenda – that is not Chick-fil-A at all."
The Christian Post attempted to contact officials at Northeastern University but were unable to reach anyone prior to publication.