Notre Dame facing backlash over adding Chick-fil-A on Campus

NOW: Notre Dame facing backlash over adding Chick-fil-A on Campus

NOTRE DAME, Ind.--- The University of Notre Dame is facing backlash over a decision to add a Chick-fil-A  on campus. A letter to the editor of The Notre Dame Observer raised concerns about the restaurant chain's relationship with the LGBTQ population.

"Queer students on campus felt that it was facilitating less inclusivity than could be at ND, especially with how Chick-fil-A has treated queer people," said a member of PrismND, the school's LGBTQ student organization.

Dr. James O'Rourke of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business says Chick-fil-A, like many other national brands, suffers from a negative perception it hasn't been able to shake.

"I would say that the background noise around Chick-fil-A  is mostly wrong," said O'Rourke. "They’ve got the story wrong."

The letter to The Observer cites donations made to anti-LGBTQ groups in the past as a reason not to support the restaurant coming on campus. 

"In my opinion it solidifies the reason why we were trying to keep Chick-fil-A  away from campus because of the associations that people make with Chick-fil-A  and there’s so many other dining options," said the member of PrismND.

O'Rourke believes the company has gone above and beyond rewriting the negative narrative it has with regards to marginalized groups.

"They’re serious about good will to the community," said O'Rourke. "What people in the American South will tell you is that we try to keep business and religion separate."

Read the full Observer letter here.

The university released a statement on Thursday. The full statement is below:

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 company’s response can be found here.

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.

The university provided a link to Chick-fil-A's statement in March 2019 where they addressed their charitable giving. You can view the press release here.

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