UPDATE: TCU spokeswoman Lisa Albert said the anti-gay controversy with Chick-fil-A wasn’t relevant to the conversations that began in the spring to bring the restaurant to campus.
Albert said university dining officials started student focus groups to determine what would drive them to the 1873 restaurant on campus to help limit an overflow of traffic at the campus dining hall. She added that while the company’s anti-gay reviews were likely “part of the conversation” in the focus groups, students have been asking for a Chick-fil-A for years.
“I think that the controversy was sort of irrelevant,” she said. “This was about what the students were wanting.”
She said the decision to bring Chick-fil-A to the university’s campus was made in the spring based on continued input from students about having it brought on campus. The announcement was made in the summer because that’s when the contracts were signed.
Albert said the university partners with several vendors and companies, including a Starbucks on campus, but officials don’t “support any political or personal opinions of those vendors.”
“I certainly understand the sensitivity within the gay community toward Chick-fil-A, but at the end of the day, [the company’s opinions] don’t reflect the opinions of TCU,” she said.
ORIGINAL POST: When students return to Texas Christian University’s campus for classes on Aug. 19, they’ll have Chick-fil-A as a dining option.
TCU announced internally in late May that the on-campus 1873 restaurant would be converted into a Chick-fil-A and open in the fall. A story followed in the school’s newspaper, but students had already left for the summer and it appears that few people noticed. Now LGBT advocates are questioning why the university chose to allow a controversial anti-gay restaurant chain on campus.
Todd Camp, a Fort Worth LGBT activist and TCU alumnus, said he recently heard about the restaurant coming to campus from a friend and was surprised there hadn’t been upset about it. He said the university knew the news would be controversial so it waited until after students were gone to avoid backlash.
“I find it disingenuous that they didn’t now Chick-fil-A would be controversial,” Camp said.