Why Students Are Upset That Idaho State University Is Getting A Chick-Fil-A

Student budgets and appetites often naturally navigate toward cheap, delicious food, so it's easy to assume that any fast food joint is always welcome on a university campus. However, this is proving to not necessarily be the case — at least when it comes to the students at Idaho State University and one particular fried chicken chain. 

As the ISU's news outlet The Bengal reported on November 4th, 2020, the university has been looking at options to replace Mandalay Express at the campus' Pond Student Union Building. According to ISU president Kevin Satterlee, Chick-fil-A was the logical choice. "This was the foodservice option that students wanted, and the entire purpose and mission of our food service operation is to enhance the student experience," Satterlee said. "I was told unequivocally that the number one and number two things demanded by our students through surveys, studies, and listening sessions was Chick-fil-A and Starbucks." With such staunch support for the famous chicken sandwich franchise, it's easy to assume that the announcement to open one on the premises would go smoothly. Instead, some students were quite unhappy when they heard the news. Why are they so upset that Idaho State University is getting a Chick-fil-A?

Chick-fil-A's anti-LBGTQ+ history is once again causing problems

Chick-fil-A's chicken may be delicious, but the chain has a history of getting banned from places, thanks to its donations made to anti-LGBTQ+ organizations. Though the company has expressed an intention to distance itself from such ties, it's found itself in all sorts of pickles lately. For instance, their weird drama over a San Antonio airport location was triggered when the city council took issue with the company's donation history. Idaho State University students' issues with Chick-fil-A stem from this same tree. As Associated Students of Idaho State University Graduate Studies Senator (and former ASISU president) Camdon Kay puts it: "Although it may have been student selected, [Idaho State] did not consult with the right groups on campus, and [Idaho State] did it without concern for the student that would be negatively affected by their presence on campus." 

Lead coordinator with the Idaho State LGBTQ+ student group Lambda Qi, Rowan Smith, agrees. "Nobody in charge of putting Chick-fil-A on campus can pretend they were not aware of Chick-fil-A's anti-LGBTQ history; I am somewhat annoyed with the fact that they're going through with it when they had prior knowledge." Meanwhile, President Satterlee says that while they recognize and respect the sentiment, "choosing a food service option is not meant as an endorsement of anyone's political or social views." Either way, it appears unlikely that protests from the students will affect the matter, seeing as the university has reportedly already made a five-year deal with the contentious fast food giant.