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The Blue & Gray Press | August 22, 2019

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Protests End EagleOne Campaign

Chick-fil-A backed out of the “Real Eagles Eat Chicken” campaign with the University of Mary Washington that was created to promote the EagleOne card after being pressured by students who objected to Chick-fil-A’s stance on gay rights.

The campaign, which was supposed to take place between Mar. 12 and mid-April, asked UMW club presidents to support the campaign that would give each UMW student votes for purchasing Chick-fil-A. Students who purchase Chick-fil-A receive one point, and students who purchase Chick-fil-A using their EagleOne card receive two votes.

The club that receives the most votes earns a prize of $1,000.

Chick-fil-A backed out of the event shortly after it was announced due to strong opposition by students and clubs on campus. When the Bullet contacted Chick-fil-A for a response, the manager was unavailable for comment.

UMW’s Principles on Diversity and Inclusion state that, “UMW values diversity in all forms—including diversity of age, culture, disability, economic background, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, marital status, national origin, political affiliation, race, religious background, sexual orientation and veteran status.”

The Chick-fil-A website states that its corporate purpose is to, “glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us,” and, “To have a positive influence on all who come into contact with Chick-fil-A.”

Rick Pearce, vice president for administration and finance, said he knew Chick-fil-A was conservative but was unaware of the denunciations against the queer community.

“The whole idea was a promotion for using the EagleOne card,” Pearce said. “It’s a source of revenue for us. We use it to help with the cost of the EagleOne card. Some of the money goes to support student programming.”

Annie Truslow, president of Feminists United on Campus and an activist in the queer community said, “I find it intensely troubling that…[the] university has aligned itself with a religiously affiliated corporation that abuses animals and supports anti-gay activism.”

According to an article in the Huffington Post, Chick-fil-A donated almost $2 million dollars to anti-gay groups in 2009, not including an additional $1 million dollars donated between 2003 and 2008.

In protest of the event, Truslow said she “started a Facebook group called “UMW Against ‘Real Eagles Eat Chicken’ Event,” which served as our platform for discussing the event and planning some form of action against it.” According to Truslow, “In less than two hours, 80 people joined the event, and by Wednesday, the group had more than 100 members.”

Just a few days into their protest, the event was cancelled.

Truslow said that some people questioned her motives during the protest. “Many people told me that I needed to take myself less seriously, because sometimes people just want to eat at Chick-fil-A. To that argument, I say every single purchase we make is political, whether we mean or want to be political.”

Fariss Hodder, a sophomore and member of the Vegan and Vegetarian community, was another strong voice of opposition to the event.

In a letter to some of the administration at UMW, Hodder said, “I feel that through supporting this organization UMW is isolating and disregarding the LGBTTQQIAAP community and its allies, the Vegan and Vegetarian community and its allies, as well as students who disagree with the fervent religious beliefs Chick-fil-A espouses.”

However, Cheryl Beckwith, president of the Vegetarian Society, agreed with both Truslow and Hodder when she said the event was carelessly thought out.

Beckwith said, “the entire event was disrespectful to those of us who don’t consume animal products, as well as disrespectful to students in other clubs that work toward social change and take issue in Chick-fil-A’s politics.”

Pearce said the EagleOne Card center did not mean for the event to be offensive to students. However, he also said, “I think we have to be tolerant both ways.”

Pearce said that Chick-fil-A, “never meant for this to be bad publicity for them or the university and didn’t want to put the university in an awkward situation.”

Truslow hopes that Chick-fil-A would not be considered a dining option on UMW’s campus in the future and that the partnership with UMW will dwindle.


  1. CB

    I fail to see how the religious affiliation of Chick-fil-a is relevant to this discussion, unless the article writer and/or other commenters wish to suggest that the University should and did sever ties to the restaurant because of its ties to religion.

    Furthermore, the argument that the restaurant choice was discriminatory towards non-meat eaters is not very strong, either. The restaurant provides some vegetarian options and participation was not required by any group. In addition, any alternative restaurant that serves meat, by the logic of that argument, is therefore disallowable because of the “abuse to animals.” So, it then follows that the only restaurants acceptable would be vegetarian/vegan, which can then be discriminatory towards participants who require meat for health reasons or strong personal preference. Of course the last point is silly, but that to me is the logical end of such an argument.

  2. Theron Keller

    So it would appear that the UMW “Diversity” policy, which calls out special consideration for a total of 13 different classes, in reality, only extends to the boundary of one’s own viewpoint.

    What is the purpose of a policy that protects some classes, while leaving others free to be ridiculed and bullied? Who gets to pick and choose which of the 13 classes really get to be protected?

    You may choose to agree or disagree with the viewpoints of Chick-Fil-A’s management, but like it or not, they reflect the sincerely held beliefs of their religious faith, which is SUPPOSED to be one of the protected classes in the policy.

    A diversity policy that does not actually support diversity is beyond useless, it’s hypocritical.

    You want a real diversity policy? Try Evelyn Beatrice Hall, summarizing the beliefs of Voltaire:

    “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

    Sadly, a true example of tolerance, all but lost to the culture of this time.

  3. Deserve Liberty

    “LGBTTQQIAAP community and its allies…”

    Are you kidding me? Anywhere but within the communist echo chamber of public “universities” and their affiliated nut-case enablers and clients, this acronym alphabet soup “community” is both hilarious and frightening. It does not take a rocket scientist to realize that this ever-growing collection of “special” classes of people will continue to expand until the only letters it does not contain are “C” for Christian, “J” for Jewish, “W” for Western civilization, and “F” for the nuclear Family that is THE fundamental building block of all societies.

    Note, that as the alphabet mess grows we will become increasingly less able to feed and clothe ourselves, let alone care for others, as the once fertile minds that we send off to college are filled with mush and become inept at producing anything of any real and tangible value.

    In the irrational hellish world of “1984,” Orwell coined the mantra “War is Peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” As we careen ever closer to his predicted world, we must also add, “Intolerance is tolerance” along with many other logical fallacies that today are the primary touchstones of what is known as “higher education.”

  4. Jeff

    So… these nutcases have a problem with Chick-fil-A (a private company) funding pro-marriage groups. Yet these same people want my tax dollars to fund abortions.

    Oh that’s right– I forgot. These so-called “diversity” and “equal opportunity” policies in reality only favor vegan, homosexual, non-working liberals who just bitch and can’t find a way to contribute to society.

  5. Charles Girard

    Jeff and Deserve Liberty,
    I hope that you are kidding. But, the case that you are not, I’ll respond to your comment.

    The problem is not so much with Chick-fil-A itself, but that the school, which prides itself on being a community that promotes diversity and inclusion, engaged in a contest with Chick-fil-A which was supposed to give all clubs an opportunity to win funds. However, as the article points out, not all clubs had a fair chance. Speaking for PRISM, we will not engage in a contest wherein our money goes directly to our discrimination.

    PRISM, which I am the vice president of, would never engage in such a campaign because Chick-fil-A actively works to keep our community in perpetual inequality – do a quick Google search for stuff on that.

    Additionally, the language LGBTTQQIAAP is another way of saying “queer” or “the gender and sexual minority community.” There are many more identities than just “LGBT,” and these expressions reflect that. If you would like to learn more about the inequality and discrimination that this community faces that you may not know about, please come to PRISM Monday nights at 9. Or, come to the Day of Silence on April 20 from 11:50 until 12 on Ball Circle and find out that we are actually not nutcases, just people who would like equal and fair treatment.

    Charles Girard

  6. 2010 alum

    Deserve Liberty and Jeff, while I at times share some of the sentiments you harbor, especially in regards to the absence of certain elements from alphabet-soup collection of protected classes and the hypocrisy of public institutions’ efforts at diversity and equal opportunity, your knee-jerk reactions and hyperbole aren’t going to win you any allies.

    Jeff, while one might agree with you that certain programs favor one class over another, I don’t see why vegans or homosexuals as people have earned your particular ire. You are free to dislike them, as is your right, but you will continue to see those who you so clearly find distasteful extend the open hand of friendship to you, as Charles is doing.

  7. 2010 alum

    On a separate note, here is something for vegans to think about, regarding the sustainability of veganism/vegetarianism:

  8. Sarah

    Charles, your explanation makes the actions of the clubs make so much more sense. When I first read the article, I honestly interpreted it as students just being upset about the involvement of Chick-fil-A period, not its specific involvement with this contest meant to give every club the chance to win money. Though it was explained that the fundraiser was meant to be a contest, it was not clearly explained how certain clubs wouldn’t have a fair chance, as you said. It merely gave us the grievances of the students.

    I personally thought the article portrayed the students as righteous and hypocritical. I read this article and thought:

    If you think your intolerant actions toward people who don’t share your beliefs or lifestyle are justifiable, doesn’t that mean their intolerant actions toward people who don’t share their beliefs or lifestyle are equally justifiable?

    The only way to defeat prejudice is with the willingness to learn and love.
    And the way to stunt the will to learn and love, is prejudice.

  9. LP

    I am genuinely intrigued by most of these comments.

    What most of you may not be understanding is that students on campus were supposed to buy Chick-fil-A products so that they could win money for a club. PRISM will not participate because CFA actively works against the rights of sexual minorities. Vegans and vegetarians will not participate because all they can get there is a salad and why spend $8 on a salad? Also they are taking into account how Chick-fil-A treats animals, which is incredibly important to their community. Socially-progressive students will opt out of spending money there because they care about their fellow students who are being excluded. UMW policy advocates the acceptance of all people, but the extremist Christian ideals override the rights of all other people who aren’t extremist Christians? Sorry, not buying your bigoted reasoning. There are plenty of companies run by Christians and persons of other religions (or no religion, imagine that!) that do not donate to extremist groups, and those companies are ones UMW should be partnering with.

    Oh, and by the way, Christianity isn’t the only religion in the US so please for the sake of everyone involved, get off your high horse and stop acting like the opinions of your God are the ones that matter when other people are involved.

  10. Sarah

    “UMW policy advocates the acceptance of all people, but the extremist Christian ideals override the rights of all other people who aren’t extremist Christians? Sorry, not buying your bigoted reasoning. There are plenty of companies run by Christians and persons of other religions (or no religion, imagine that!) that do not donate to extremist groups, and those companies are ones UMW should be partnering with.”

    But if we advocate not accepting extreme Christians, we cannot say we advocate the acceptance of all people.

    That’s where I get confused.
    Mind you, I personally believe that they’re anti-anything-but-hetero actions are wholly, completely, just plain wrong. Their Christ even preached that people should love, love, love- not judge, judge, hate. I just don’t know how we can preach tolerance by acting intolerant. It’s like f-cking for virginity or bombing for peace.

    Like, I have no answers. I just have questions. How do we actually convince them that their beliefs are harmful and misled and cruel? How do we change people’s minds? How can we truly have an influence on their thoughts and beliefs? I really have no freaking idea.

  11. 2011 Alum

    Here’s the plain and simple:

    UMW is a public, state-funded, higher-ed institution with a very clearly written statement of community values:

    Chick-fil-A is a private, Christian, for-profit corporation with a purpose: “To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us.”

  12. I like Chick-Fil-A

    Just curious, but was the Feminists United commenting because it’s called “Chick” Fil-A?

  13. Arnold

    Can you be a little less simple? I’m having trouble grasping the point here. Is it that UMW should not support Christians, or is it that UMW’s community values include things like diversity and tolerance of differing viewpoints?

    I’m on campus right now and the community values statement isn’t loading, so you’ll have to help me out.

  14. Charles Girard

    I’m not the OP, but as a leader in PRISM it honestly has nothing to do with religion. Yes, CFA uses religion as an excuse to discriminate against gender and sexual minorities, but PRISM does care that CFA is religiously affiliated. PRISM has co-sponsored many events with religious clubs ranging from bringing bands onto campus to holding large discussions about the intersections of spirituality and being queer.
    The only reason that PRISM protested this event was because CFA discriminates against the queer community and any monetary support of CFA would mean directly paying for our discrimination.
    However, their religious affiliation honestly has nothing to do with it except for the fact that they use it as an excuse to discriminate against us.

    – Charles Girard

  15. Zing

    Good one. Not.

  16. UMW guy

    You raise an important point, Sarah. Tolerance accepts all viewpoints without endorsing them, even ones with which I disagree. I find it ironic that vegans can appeal to some moral belief that says “eating chickens is morally wrong” and are viewed as “inclusive” and “tolerant” yet others who appeal to a different set of beliefs that “homosexual sex is morally wrong” are viewed as “intolerant”, condemned, boycotted and excluded.

    Voicing disagreement in moral beliefs and advocating discrimination or violence are not the same thing. “Tolerance” and “diversity”, as used here, seem to be little more than window dressing for politically correct (intolerant) speech aimed at those with whom I disagree.

  17. I like Chich-Fil-A

    Just to add a SLIGHTLY more serious response to this discussion,
    I know someone above mentioned that partnering with CFA wasn’t fair to the Veggie club and LGBT clubs because CFA’s business practices goes against what they believe and that it was unfair. If this is about fairness, couldn’t it be said that any broke club member stands at a disadvantage to be a part of the contest? It seems to me that not everyone (or their parents) loads enough money onto their Eagle One or has enough money to spend on food that’s purchased outside of a meal plan and flex. It gives any kid (Gay, vegan or whatever)with more flex/money/access to transportation a better chance of winning. Personally, I think it’d be nice for UMW to consider the possibility of bringing in a semi-decent fast food chain like CFA. Who knows, maybe getting in well-known brands could encourage other popular fast food places like Panera or Chipotle to draw up a contract with the school.Sure, fast food isn’t the healthiest but it’s not like anything we have right now is all that much better. I’m sure there are plenty of people who consider themselves non-heterosexual or supporters of non-heterosexual relationships who STILL eat at CFA just because they like the food or it’s convenient. I don’t think anyone with a brain would seriously think that UMW PERSONALLY supports CFA’s political/moral agendas. They’re in it because the food is the draw. The school is trying to be innovative and garner a profit off of something they honestly believed would be a popular option with many (maybe even the majority) of the students. In the end it’s up to the individuals to choose to participate or NOT participate in the variety of events the school sponsors. I’d be curious to know how many other clubs would have been FOR the idea rather than against it had it not been so quickly squashed down by the veggies/LGBT groups and “Allies”.
    As for people not wanting to pay for $8 salads, you’d pay that much or more going to Salad Creations across the street,Panera or even Giant.