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In response to ‘Keep Chick-fil-A away’

| Tuesday, July 20, 2021

This response was written prior to the University’s announcement that Chick-fil-A would be opening on campus. However, I believe it’s important to portray this argument from a differing viewpoint.

Chick-fil-A has recently faced backlash from a Letter to the Editor and a petition written by Notre Dame students. However, the situation simply doesn’t reflect the thoughts of the majority of students. When rumors leaked in May that Chick-fil-A was potentially coming to Notre Dame, students were ecstatic. An Instagram post received over 4,000 likes when the news was posted. An Instagram account had been devoted to bringing a Chick-fil-A to campus. Clubs on campus even specifically cater Chick-fil-A as an incentive to attract students. However, “Keep Chick-fil-A away” is against it opening on campus.

In their Letter to the Editor, the students state that Chick-fil-A has donated millions to anti-LGBTQ+ organizations, including the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. While Chick-fil-A is a generous organization, it is unfair to state that it is simply contributing to these organizations because they potentially hold anti-LGBTQ+ beliefs. The Salvation Army’s mission is to act as a nongovernmental relief agency and provide homeless shelters, meals and clothing to those in need. Those helped by the Salvation Army include the LGBTQ+ community, who statistically are unfortunately more likely to experience homelessness. Additionally, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ vision is “to see the world transformed by Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes.” This actually sounds quite similar to Notre Dame’s athletic mission in the Student-Athlete handbook: “Notre Dame endeavors to maintain a highly competitive athletics program consistent with its tradition, heritage and overall mission as a Catholic university.”

Regardless, Chick-fil-A pledged to change their donation focus in 2020 from these organizations, now focusing on youth education, combating hunger and youth homelessness through Junior Achievement, Covenant House and local food banks. Additionally, Chick-fil-A pledged in 2020 to “give back” to “Black-led nonprofits and those serving in the Black community.” Chick-fil-A did fulfill this promise, donating $5 million to African American nonprofits.

On the same note, the students claim in their letter that there are other restaurants that better align with Notre Dame’s mission. However, current establishments on campus have agendas that aren’t in accordance with the teachings of the Catholic Church. For example, Starbucks supports and matches employee donations to Planned Parenthood, which provided 354,871 abortions from October 2018 to September 2019 alone, according to their most recent annual report. Planned Parenthood as an organization staunchly opposes the views of the Catholic Church; however, Starbucks proudly supports it and remains open on campus. Therefore, how is it fair to state Chick-fil-A goes against our mission, while Starbucks does not? Starbucks has recently also been under fire for racism and discrimination in the workplace — surely not reflecting the values of our Catholic school.

Secondly, the authors write “Chick-fil-A depends heavily on participation in animal agriculture.” While most people agree, myself included, that animal agriculture should be swiftly reformed, including improvements to working conditions and animal treatment, how is a chain restaurant not supposed to serve meat? Chick-fil-A’s entire advertising campaign is “Eat Mor Chikin” (Eat More Chicken). Additionally, all restaurants and dining halls on campus serve meat on a daily basis. Why is Chick-fil-A liable for its contribution to the meat industry, while others aren’t held accountable? As for whether it’s environmentally friendly, chicken is significantly better for the environment than beef as it reduces a person’s carbon footprint by half. Furthermore, as informed adults, we are aware that while we can do our part in reducing plastic use, recycling and using environmentally-friendly products, individuals are not actually the culprits for the horrible destruction of our environment. Instead, as students and citizens, we need to hold corporations such as Amazon and oil companies accountable for their contribution to greenhouse gas emission, deforestation and global warming. 

Thirdly, the students argue that Chick-fil-A wouldn’t benefit our vegetarian and vegan student body, but Chick-fil-A does have some meatless options: salads, veggie wraps, parfaits and of course, their waffle fries. While the University should address more dining options for these students, the majority of students love Chick-fil-A.

Furthermore, the students opposed to the restaurant’s opening say it wouldn’t be a good fit on campus since it’s closed on Sundays; however, Star Ginger would close on weekends and dining options have limited hours. If anything, this would be beneficial to the student workers on campus, as they would have a guaranteed day off. Chick-fil-A being open six days a week shouldn’t be a deterrent to it being on campus.

Notre Dame students don’t want virtue signaling — we just want Chick-fil-A. 

Caeli Jojola


July 16

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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