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Rider University Dean Resigns Over Ban on Chick-fil-A in Defense of Company’s Christian Values

Rider University Dean Resigns Over Ban on Chick-fil-A in Defense of Company’s Christian Values

“I endeavor every day to do exactly what Chick-fil-A puts forward as its overarching corporate value”

In the fall of 2018, Rider University in New Jersey surveyed students to find out which restaurant they would like to have on campus. Students preferred Chick-fil-A, but that choice was rejected by university leadership, which felt the company’s corporate values were insufficiently inclusive.

Chick-fil-A is a Christian owned company, which has often made it a a target of anger on the far left. At the heart of this issue, is the company’s embrace of traditional values as it relates to gay marriage.

Rider’s decision to reject the restaurant turned into a public relations challenge, and official talking points were issued for faculty. Cynthia Newman, dean of Rider’s College of Business, is a Christian and resigned her position as a matter of conscience.

Joshua Aminov of Campus Reform reports:

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Dean resigns over school’s opposition to Chick-fil-A ‘corporate values’

Newman explained her reasoning to the faculty and staff of the College of Business in her Feb. 14 resignation announcement, a copy of which Campus Reform obtained exclusively. In the announcement, Newman recalled the university rejecting students wanting to bring a Chick-fil-A restaurant to campus because the fast-food chain’s “corporate values have not sufficiently progressed enough to align with those of Rider.”

“As some of you already know, I am a committed follower of Jesus Christ,” Newman says in her announcement. “As such, I endeavor every day to do exactly what Chick-fil-A puts forward as its overarching corporate value: to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to me and to have a positive influence on all who come into contact with me.”

“Everything positive about me and everything I have ever achieved — whether in my personal or my professional life — that is viewed as being good, I fully attribute to God’s working in and through me,” the dean continued. “Anytime I am kind or patient or wise, it is a result of God’s goodness and mercy and my yielding to His presence in my life.”

Saying that she “felt as though I had been punched in the stomach,” Newman noted she met with “those in authority positions over me” about the school’s decision. She said she asked administrators to apologize for Rider’s statement about Chick-fil-A and its “corporate values.” But, she added, that didn’t happen. In fact, the school doubled down.

In the video below, Newman speaks with Cabot Phillips of Campus Reform and elaborates on what happened and how she reached her decision:

Here is an excerpt from an official message which was issued by Rider University in November of last year:

A letter from President Gregory G. Dell’Omo and Vice President for Student Affairs Leanna Fenneberg


Dear members of the Rider community,

A few weeks ago, we sent a survey to students to elicit feedback on options for bringing a new restaurant franchise to Rider. Although it was included in previous surveys, Chick-fil-A was removed as one of the options based on the company’s record widely perceived to be in opposition to the LGBTQ+ community.

That decision required a difficult assessment of competing interests. We sought to be thoughtful and fair in balancing the desire to provide satisfying options for a new on-campus restaurant while also being faithful to our values of inclusion.

The choices in this situation, like in so many others, were imperfect. They challenged us to reflect on our values and consider what kind of community we want to provide for those who live and learn at Rider University. Ultimately, we decided to lean in the direction of creating a welcoming environment where differences can be appreciated and where each individual can expect to experience dignity and respect.

We understand that some may view the decision as being just another form of exclusion. We want to be clear that this was not the spirit in which the decision was made. We fully acknowledge an organization’s right to hold these beliefs, just as we acknowledge the right for individuals in our community and elsewhere to also personally hold the same beliefs.

It’s easy to forget that this all began because Chick-fil-A was what the students at Rider wanted, it was their choice. Rider created this problem by miring the situation in politics. Can’t a chicken sandwich just be a chicken sandwich?

Featured image via YouTube.


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No matter how many times gay customers and employees say they love Chick-fil-A, both as consumers or employees, it is never heard. And BTW, Chick-fil-A is not closed on Sunday because of religious reasons, it is a convenient time for the restaurants and kitchens to be cleaned and sanitized top to bottom. Employees say they love knowing that they will always be off on Sunday as they can plan ahead.
In fact individual Chick-fil-As do open if there is a local emergency that warrants volunteer staff to come in and cook food for say refugees of a flood or such.

    NavyMustang in reply to puhiawa. | March 5, 2019 at 4:56 pm

    Not according to their website:

    “Our founder, Truett Cathy, made the decision to close on Sundays in 1946 when he opened his first restaurant in Hapeville, Georgia. Having worked seven days a week in restaurants open 24 hours, Truett saw the importance of closing on Sundays so that he and his employees could set aside one day to rest and worship if they choose – a practice we uphold today.”

Come on Mike…of course a chicken sandwich cannot just be a chicken sandwich!! The left has seen to that!

Universities tend to do exactly this in so many ways. We had the same thing happen in the 80s:

U: We want a basketball arena, paid for by donors.
Donors: Nope. Here’s a few bucks, but your plans are way nuts.
U: We want an arena, paid for by donors and students.
Students: You need to put that up for a vote.
U: Ok. (Submits to a vote of the students, gets whomped 2:1)
U: Ok, we’re building it anyway. Your bills will be in your tuition payments every year until you graduate. Oh, and it won’t be done until you’re an alumnus.

    Lefties are the same the world over. This is exactly how the EU came together. You’ll keep voting until we get YES. When a couple balked and their citizens voted NO, then it was time for re-votes.

    Once YES was reached, no more re-votes.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to georgfelis. | March 5, 2019 at 4:01 pm

    Entire “extra” college campuses have been built that same way – even when after 25 years that campus has almost Zero percent of the total 18 “campus” enrollment, and the faculty and staff fought it.

    End the Democrat Party College Administration DICTATORSHIPS!

    Subotai Bahadur in reply to georgfelis. | March 5, 2019 at 9:50 pm

    Back in the early 1970’s I went to then-Metropolitan State College [now University]. It was an all night classes college designed for those with day jobs who wanted to finish their degrees. It had no campus, leasing space in downtown Denver buildings at night each quarter. [finding your classes at the beginning of each quarter was sometimes an adventure]

    I had two years at University of Colorado-Boulder and was working at a bank downtown during the day, and trying to finish my degree at night. The governing board desperately wanted us to have sports teams, even if we had no actual campus. They forced a student vote on a school mascot as a way to start it.

    We were a more career focused student body than most. We voted for the “Metro State Artichokes”. It shut them up for a year or two.

    Subotai Bahadur

Another college to avoid, the list continues to grow.

Hmmm. Keeping a business out to be faithful to their “values of inclusion.”


Do these people ever, like, listen to themselves?

    Milhouse in reply to tom_swift. | March 5, 2019 at 5:32 pm

    War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength, Exclusion is Inclusion.

    healthguyfsu in reply to tom_swift. | March 5, 2019 at 5:54 pm

    Yes they do…they aren’t that dense all of the time. However, the devout progressives have embraced the ends justifying the means. Thus, they have found that nice little words, no matter if proven disingenuous, will not be protested loudly enough if a vocal, organized minority is pandered to.

There’s some stones. It takes some serious courage and faith to make a stand like that.

    healthguyfsu in reply to Andy. | March 5, 2019 at 5:55 pm

    I agree that she is taking a stand, but she resigned her position as dean not her employment. She will continue as tenured faculty.

      coolway in reply to healthguyfsu. | March 5, 2019 at 6:22 pm

      Which means this leftist university will continue to employ and pay at least one person who maintains beliefs consistent with those of chic-fila.

        healthguyfsu in reply to coolway. | March 5, 2019 at 7:10 pm

        Agreed…she is, I’m sure, grateful for tenure. She just has to watch her back for getting targeted…they can trump up cause.

Yes puhiawa they are closed on Sunday as a recognition of the Cathey faith.

RU[486] has a politically congruent (“=”) or selectively exclusive administration.

VaGentleman | March 5, 2019 at 4:28 pm

If all those opposed to the liberal takeover of our universities leave their posts in protest, we lose. It would have been better if she had stayed and led a student revolt.

My2centshere | March 5, 2019 at 5:14 pm

Great respect for this woman.

I never ate a Chick-Fil-A before the controversy as I’m not big on chicken sandwiches. They are good and all of this talk is making me want one. yummm

    coolway in reply to elle. | March 5, 2019 at 6:23 pm

    Just had one yesterday. Spicy chicken deluxe, with waffle fries.

    Oh, those waffle fries.

I started eating at Chik-fil-A once in a while to demonstrate solidarity. Guess what? They actually make a good chicken biscuit and hash brown breakfast!

Thanks, Organized Perversion! You’ve introduced something nice to me!

Do we have to know the politics of every retail establishment and only do business with those we agree with?

Always enlightening to see a “school of higher learning” that claims to value “inclusion” but only if your beliefs happen to coincide with theirs. The hypocrisy of their official statements never cease to amaze me… I will just eat at Chik-fil-A more just to piss the lefties off.

Why is embracing traditional values considered “opposition to the LGBTQ+ community”? Why do Christians always seem to fall for the “either or” traps set by progressives?

Our answer to them ought to be “do your thing” and “but not here”.

The older I get, the more I study the Bible, especially in context, the more I appreciate it is a book of wisdom written for those who actively pursue relationship with the Father. In recent years, I have been particularly struck by a single verse, in the last chapter of the last book of the Bible – placed like a final word of instruction for the children of God while they yet live in this world. It says:

“Let anyone who is doing wrong continue to do wrong. Let anyone who is unclean continue to be unclean. Let anyone who is doing right continue to do right. Let anyone who is holy continue to be holy.” (Rev 22:11 ERV)

The operative words are “let them”. The chapter clearly paints the picture of the followers of God and of His Word as dwelling in the Father’s kingdom, and those who reject Him and His Word as prohibited from entering in. Why then not adopt the attitude that they are free to do and be accountable for whatever they please, but such is not for the follower of The Way?

Christians run into this problem over and over for no reason other than trying to establish His Kingdom in and on the earth, through government, institutions, etc. The Son very clearly stated that the Kingdom is not to be found in the world, rather, the Kingdom of God is within each believer. Accordingly, the LGBTQ+ has no foothold within this temple. Such does not prevent me from being loving and kind to people who choose to live in the world and thereby shun God and His Word. Nor does it prevent me from defending the Kingdom of God that is unfolding within me and the lives of my family entrusted to me by God.

My attitude would probably be considered a passive one in this world; really it is no more than saying “this far, but no farther”. It could be said, I suppose, that Lot shared that attitude, by living in Sodom surrounded by lawless individuals and selfish acts, but he did not take part in it himself. It may come the day in this world that all remaining believers would be in similar situation – having fallen back from the world at large and left to defend their own home, family and guests, as a final sanctuary of God and His Way.

I’ve always been liberal in my philosophies: Guys, do whatever you want with other guys – just do it downwind and out of sight.

While I strongly disagree with this position, I support the college’s right to do what they want. They are a private school, and like other private schools, can discriminate. For example, BYU won’t hire employees that are not LDS. It’s legal. It’s not right, but it’s legal. Now, if they are receiving any local, state or federal funding for anything, it becomes another story.