Diversity of ideas should be embraced

Issue: Should SDSU, in consideration of recent comments and past donations by a Chick-fil-A executive, allow the franchise to come to The Union?


On Feb. 16, SDSU announced that one of the three new dining options coming to The Union would be Chick-fil-A. Not long after, members of the SDSU Gay Straight Alliance began efforts to stop the restaurant from opening on campus. Their decision was made in light of Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Dan Cathy’s religious and political opposition to same-sex marriage, a position reaffirmed by Cathy this summer in various interviews.

This is a fight that has been taken up with varying degrees of success on college campuses around the country, and it is a discussion that SDSU needs to have. The overriding question, at least here at SDSU, is whether the university is inclusive to all or not. It is, at the very least, trying to be.

If the question is indeed about inclusiveness, and if we truly want a university that is inclusive to all, would it really be right to shut the door on a business because its president’s beliefs on a certain issue are challenging to some? If the answer is yes, then we have a serious problem, one that goes far beyond chicken and stretches into the fundamentals of what it means to live in a free country.

If that is the test we use to decide what is acceptable on campus, we cannot, through any stretch of the imagination, consider our university inclusive to everybody. In fact, if we used that test, Hobotech would almost certainly have to be removed from campus. Apple has long voiced support for same-sex marriage, and in 2008, the corporation donated $100,000 to fight Proposition 8 – California’s ban on same-sex marriage. Some Christians may have found that offensive. Diversity cannot simply be about race or sexual orientation. It must be about ideas, no matter how wrong they may or may not be.

This is a university. If there is anywhere in the world young people should be challenged with ideas that are contrary to their own, it is here. Every day, we should all be confronted with ideas that force us to justify our own views and that force us to think critically about ourselves and our place in the world. We should all individually refuse to confuse disagreement with disrespect.

Homosexuals have faced a tremendous amount of persecution in the past and still do today. But we can’t allow the past and fear to keep us from moving forward. Instead of refusing to allow a business onto campus because its president may or may not be completely wrong on an issue, we should embrace the challenging discussion it brings to campus.

That is the way to make SDSU more inclusive. No one’s mind was ever changed by force.

Stance: Bringing Chick-fil-A to campus is a good thing, if for no other reason than the discussion it has raised and will continue to raise.