SDSU’s Students’ Association voted Monday night to support the administration’s decision to bring Chick-fil-A to campus and later voted not to denounce the company’s donation history against LGBT causes.
In a 23-6 vote, the senate — in resolution 12-04-R — supported the decision made last year by university leadership to bring Chick-fil-A to campus as part of The Union’s dining expansion, along with Panda Express and Extreme Pita.
The resolution noted that the university has vetted the decision to bring Chick-fil-A to campus five times; twice by University Food Service Advisory Council, twice by the Student Union Activities Council and once by the executive board of SA.
Numerous senators spoke on the issue on both sides.
SA’s State and Local Government Chairman Jameson Goetz said that if the senate voted down the resolution, it would be telling the university leaders that they didn’t do their jobs.
Sen. Hassan Ali opened the discussion and was among the most ardent opponents of the resolution.
“I really don’t think we should be putting a stamp on this. I think it’s the wrong message to be sending to students on campus,” said Ali, a College of Arts and Sciences representative.
He said voting yes would mean that the senate was merely congratulating the university for its decision with the resolution.
Sen. Libby Trammell of the College of Arts and Sciences opposed the resolution as well.
“It has become a safety issue. Just us showing that we let these people onto our campus, I’m pretty sure that doesn’t show our support for this group.”
Co-sponsor of the resolution Sen. Michael Rauenhorst argued in support of the measure.
“It’s a freedom of speech issue. It’s a freedom of religion issue,” Rauenhorst said, a representative of the College of Engineering, who proceeded to list off companies that are vendors on campus and have supported or opposed gay marriage and LGBT issues.
“We need to look at what students want here, and I think that’s exactly what this resolution does,” Kaytlin Pelton, another co-sponsor from the College of Ag and Biological Sciences, said.
She later added that Chick-fil-A coming to campusv would promote the discussion at SDSU about LGBT issues.
“What better way to promote diversity than to bring in this company … That would be awesome,” Pelton said.
After the first resolution passed, resolution 12-05-R was proposed, stating that “the SDSU SA denouncing Chick-fil-A’s financial support, via its partnership with the Winshape Foundation, of organizations that promote dishonest discourse against the LGBT community.”
Sen. Austin VanderWal, of the College of Engineering, said he didn’t understand how Chick-fil-A was being hateful with their donations, which drew a frustrated response from Ali, who buried his head in his hands.
Ali said the resolution would show students care about issues on campus that face LGBT issues.
After far less discussion than the previous resolution, it failed with 9 “Yes” votes and 20 “No” votes.
A group of roughly 20 people were in the audience, including representatives of the SDSU Gay Straight Alliance, but no audience input was voiced for either resolution.
Chick-fil-A was officially announced as a new option for The Union Feb. 16. The chain has faced persistent opposition from the LGBT community on campus since April, when GSA brought the issue to the Division of Student Affairs.