Staff Editorial: Student voices absent in controversy

Students have made it known that they don’t want Chick-fil-A on campus.

Or have they?

Talk of moving forward in decision-making has recently focused on how the student voice should be involved. But all student opinions, for or against the restaurant, haven’t been heard by the decision makers.

So you’re aware of the timeline, Dining Services is planning what food places will go into the Union when Wendy’s contract ends in the fall and the first floor of the Union is renovated this summer.

Chick-fil-A was revealed as one of 40 brands to choose from, including Popeye’s Chicken and Chili’s, according to Director of Dining Mike Paulus in a Nov. 17 article in The BG News.

A Dining Advisory Board, consisting of 25 people who reached out to 642 students to vote, selected the top three choices the students voted for: Chick-fil-A, Papa John’s and Panda Express, according to Paulus in a Feb. 1 article in The BG News.

In January, issues regarding possible “anti-gay” activity within Chick-fil-A were presented to Dining Services. Talk grew about alleged controversies surrounding Chick-fil-A’s business practices, with the LGBT community on campus speaking strongly against it.

Dining Services consulted students regarding Chick-fil-A remaining as an option on a student survey of restaurant preferences for the Union. Undergraduate Student Government and Graduate Student Senate were approached for opinions about the student survey.

As they are meant to represent the student bodies, USG and GSS passed their decisions against having the restaurant on a student survey on to Dining Services for consideration. Chick-fil-A was removed from the survey.

The decision was based on the thoughts of the student governing bodies and administration.

But how much of the leadership’s decision was based on the actual thoughts of the student body?

One student voice, the LGBT community, has been heard by strongly speaking in support of the community’s values and against Chick-fil-A. Few other issues, however, have been discussed relating to the food and the restaurant’s values.

Has the decision to keep Chick-fil-A off campus, right or wrong, been based on concerns of the loudest voice of the students or the voices that represent all students?

The BG News doesn’t have the answer as to whether the restaurant should or should not be on campus. The BG News does, however, think that less than a hundred people should not have made this decision without consulting a better representation of the thousands of students who will use the Union.

People who know about this issue might not feel inclined to voice their opinions, as it seems the student governing bodies and administration haven’t looked beyond their own views and the concerns of one community.

Dining Services appears to have taken the blame for any controversy surrounding the restaurant, and USG and GSS have made their point that they do not support Chick-fil-A.

But who is talking about what students think?

Student opinion did initially contribute to Chick-fil-A as a possible option, and as this decision will affect the Union, it should involve more students’ opinions concerning removing it as an option.

More could have been done by the leadership to reach out to students to educate them about the restaurant. More could have been done to reach out and hear what a variety of students think and prefer.

This way some various opinions, whether everyone agrees with them or not, would not go unheard. All issues surrounding Chick-fil-A could be assessed rationally with an accurate inclusion of what the student body thinks as a whole.

The BG News asks that a student survey be done, as it was when the initial top three choices were chosen. Then a variety of voices will at least have a chance to be heard, rather than just a few.



Respond to

[email protected]