Students stand against Day of Service sponsor
Seven students gathered outside Argyros Forum Friday, some wearing duct tape over their mouths and others simply holding signs and passing out flyers in protest of Chick-fil-A acting as a sponsor for Chapman Day of Service.
This is the fourth time Student and Campus Life (SCL) has hosted Day of Service. The event’s purpose is to connect the student body with the wider community through several community service projects held throughout the day.
Several local businesses act as sponsors for the event by donating gifts that are raffled out to participating students at the end of the day, said Chris Hutchison, director of student civic engagement. There were 40 sponsors involved with the event this year.
David Thompson, a senior film production major, said while he actually works for SCL and supports the event’s purpose, he was disappointed that Chick-fil-A was included as a sponsor and its $70 gift basket was being raffled.
“As a queer student on campus, I didn’t want to be associated with Chick fil-A,” Thompson said.
Thompson points to the fast-food chain’s recent media controversy as reason a why he said they shouldn’t have been included in the event.
Several months ago, Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy made anti-gay statements and emphasized the company’s support for the biblical definition of a family unit.
The controversy continued when it was reported that Chick-fil-A donates proceeds to groups whose work includes defeating same-sex marriage initiatives and therapy intended to change a person’s sexual orientation.
“We’re trying to create an inclusive environment on campus for all students and this doesn’t help,” Thompson said.
Selva Miranda, a junior integrated educational studies and sociology major and co-chair of the Safe Space Committee, said she organized the protest two days prior when she learned that Chick-fil-A would be part of the event.
“It’s our time to stand up and say that’s enough,” Miranda said. “It’s a good opportunity for Chapman to look at who they choose to partner with in the community.”
Miranda wrote a letter to the student body and circulated it via Facebook and in the Residence Halls in an attempt to inform students about the protest and Chick-fil-A’s involvement.
Jerry Price, vice chancellor for student affairs and dean of students, said it would be unfair of the university to exclude Chick-fil-A simply because of the viewpoints of the company’s CEO.
“The university doesn’t take an official stance on those issues,” he said. “We are inclusive of multiple viewpoints.”
However, several protestors like Miranda and Chad King, a sophomore film production major, said partnering with companies like Chick-fil-A makes them uncomfortable. They pointed to the recent vandalism on the third floor of Sandhu Residence Hall and the tearing down of several Queer Straight Alliance posters as evidence.
“It’s a little disheartening that places like Chick-fil-A are making that behavior OK,” King said.