“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?
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