Students at Indiana University South Bend have filed a formal complaint against the university's Chancellor, alleging the presence of the fast food restaurant chain Chick-fil-A violated vendor policy prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
"Students impacted by the continued presence of Chick-fil-A on campus have come forward today to file formal discrimination complaints within the Judicial Affairs office of the university against the university's Chancellor, Una Mae Reck," Jason A. Moreno, a spokesperson for the students, said in a statement.
Chick-Fil-A, which has 1,550 locations in 39 states, is accused of having deep financial ties to nationwide organizations that oppose marriage equality and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights. According to an investigation by the progressive blog EqualityMatters, the restaurant chain's charitable division has provided more than $1.1 million to anti-LGBT organizations, including the Alliance Defense Fund and Family Research Council.
"Chancellor Reck has continued to proactively purchase goods from this vendor for the purpose of resale on campus despite all evidence proving the damage it causes the students she's charged to protect," Moreno added. "These purchases aren't automatic, but rather she's making the conscious decision to do this every week on her own authority and of her own volition, with full knowledge of the overwhelming evidence that shows she's participating in the promotion of discrimination."
A petition to remove Chick-fil-A from the Indiana University South Bend campus started by Moreno at Change.org has received over 8,000 signatures.
The president of Chick-fil-A has insisted that the company is not anti-gay, but is merely operating a business according to Biblical principles and supporting healthy families.
"We have no agenda against anyone," Dan Cathy, President and COO of the restaurant chain, said in a statement from January. "At the heart and soul of our company, we are a family business that serves and values all people regardless of their beliefs or opinions."
He added that Chick-fil-A had a long history of encouraging and strengthening marriages, but had decided not to "champion any political agendas on marriage and family."
"At the same time, we will continue to offer resources to strengthen marriages and families. To do anything different would be inconsistent with our purpose and belief in Biblical principles."