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Campus Dining to open Chick-fil-A on campus as part of ‘Retail Dining Master Plan’

| Thursday, July 15, 2021

Notre Dame will begin construction of a Chick-fil-A on campus in August 2021, the University announced Thursday. The restaurant will be located in the former Star Ginger location of the Duncan Student Center.

Student-led campaigns at Notre Dame have both opposed and supported the possible opening of a Chick-fil-A on campus since Campus Dining announced they were considering a variety of restaurant options.

The opening was announced as part of Campus Dining’s new “Retail Dining Master Plan,” which also includes the opening of “The Noodle Nook” with Asian food in August 2021 and the construction of a new coffee shop and gourmet grocery location in the Morris Inn beginning in late 2021.

The plan also mentions the enhancement of plant-based options across campus, particularly in outlets such as Garbanzo, Modern Market, the dining halls and Grab ’n Go. More information is forthcoming, including plans for an “enhanced marketplace vision” in the Huddle Mart and other additional dining concepts.

This announcement comes after one of the student-led campaigns, opposed to the possible opening of a Chick-fil-A on campus, garnered national attention in recent days. This campaign included an open letter with 180 signatures of students and faculty and a Letter to the Editor published in The Observer on July 1.

In their Letter to the Editor, rising juniors Tilly Keeven-Glascock and Joey Jegier urged Campus Dining to consider alternatives to Chick-fil-A. They cited a “long history of antagonism toward the LGBTQ+ community,” as well as the effects of factory farming on the environment.

“While Chick-fil-A’s popularity on Notre Dame’s campus often goes unchallenged, we think it’s time to change that,” Keeven-Glascock and Jegier had written in their Letter to the Editor. “We have serious ethical concerns regarding Chick-fil-A and believe that a variety of other restaurants would better fit Notre Dame’s mission and our student body’s needs.”

After a Fox News article about opposition to the restaurant on campus caught the attention of Sen. Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican expressed support for Chick-fil-A and its founders’ values in a Twitter thread on Wednesday.

“It’s disappointing to hear some ND students and faculty want to ban Chick-fil-A from doing business on campus because they disagree with the values held by the Chick-fil-A founders,” Graham wrote, also stating he would “go to war” for the company’s principles if necessary.

As news of the campaign spread nationwide, Keeven-Glascock told the Washington Post the ensuing spotlight has been both good and bad. Before making her social media profiles private, she said, she received a flood of death threats and “nasty comments.”

University spokesperson Dennis Brown said Notre Dame had taken certain concerns into account when making the decision.

“Notre Dame has examined the concerns surrounding Chick-fil-A’s charitable giving, discussed them with company representatives, campus partners and students and believes that Chick-fil-A has responded to these issues in a satisfactory manner,” the University statement read. “Our students have overwhelmingly expressed a desire to have a Chick-fil-A restaurant on campus, and we look forward to opening one early next year.”

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