Nearly 850 people have signed a petition that urges the University of Maryland to remove a Chick-fil-A restaurant from the College Park campus.
Kyle Milligan of Severna Park, Md., told the Blade that he posted it onto Change.org after he and his friends discussed Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy’s controversial comments against marriage rights for same-sex couples. He also noted “contributions to hate groups” that he said the company has made “in the past several years” as another factor that prompted him to launch the petition to remove the fast food eatery from the Adele H. Stamp Student Union’s food court.
“The SSU’s mission statement (from their website) is ‘to provide a safe and inviting campus center where all UM students, alumni, faculty, staff, and community members cultivate lifelong relationships founded on engagement, learning, multiculturalism, and citizenship,’” said Milligan. “We decided that having a Chick-Fil-A restaurant in the SSU ran counter to this mission statement, and I decided to act by starting this petition.”
Milligan said university officials have not formally responded to his petition, although Stamp Student Union Director Marsha Guenzler Stevens told FOX 5 on Aug. 17 that it cannot remove Chick-fil-A from the food court until at least the end of the year when its contract expires. Milligan said reaction among his classmates remains mixed.
“A lot of people who say they oppose the petition do so because they see it as the wrong way to approach the issue. There hasn’t been a lot of vocal opposition that I’ve seen, at least not in opposition to the end goal of the petition,” he said. “Some people have questioned our approach, though. I’ve gotten a lot of people who say ‘just vote with your wallet and don’t eat there,’ but I think that sort of avoids the problem. Chick-Fil-A’s CEO is free to say what he wants, but as long as a percentage of corporate profits are used to fund organizations like the Family Research Council, which has spent thousands of dollars lobbying Congress not to condemn Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” legislation, it is totally inappropriate to house the restaurant on University of Maryland property, let alone eat there.”
Milligan launched his petition only days after Floyd Lee Corkins, II, reportedly had 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches in his backpack when he allegedly shot a security guard in the lobby of the Family Research Council’s downtown Washington headquarters. A Frederick Chick-fil-A was vandalized with pro-gay rights stickers and other items earlier this month, while roughly a dozen people gathered outside the chain’s downtown Silver Spring location on Aug. 3 to protest Cathy’s comments.
Chick-fil-A did not return the Blade’s request for comment about Milligan’s petition.