If you’re on campus this semester and have walked past Boston University’s College of Communication, you might have seen a big, red food truck. At the beginning of the year, Chick-fil-A began parking on Commonwealth Avenue, joining the parade of food trucks that serve the BU community.
There’s no question the fast-food franchise is immensely popular for its delicious, crispy chicken. Chick-fil-A has been at the top of the American Customer Satisfaction Index restaurant report for six years and running. And as soon as it arrived on campus, the @barstoolbu Instagram account posted the news with excitement.
The lines outside of the truck already rival other fast-food locations on campus. Some say Chick-fil-A is better than our beloved Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers.
But, it’s also hard to forget what the restaurant stands for.
The company has deep-seeded homophobia. Chick-fil-A has been caught multiple times donating to anti-LGBTQ charities and organizations. In 2017, $1.8 million went toward the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Salvation Army and the Paul Anderson Youth Home — all organizations with discriminatory and homophobic practices.
Plus, an organization founded by Chick-fil-A’s founder Truett Cathy has previously donated to anti-gay charities that support the dangerous and sometimes deadly practice of conversion therapy.
Chick-fil-A announced a charitable focus toward hunger, education and homelessness in 2020. Yet the company never explicitly committed itself to stopping future donations to anti-gay organizations.
It’s unclear whether this new focus guarantees any real change, especially since a month after the announcement, company CEO Dan Cathy wrote a letter apologizing if people misunderstood their new focus and that they would continue to support faith-based charities.
At this point, it’s hard to trust Chick-fil-A’s word. If we want to be able to support the chicken chain in good conscience, we would need more than not donating to anti-LGBTQ organizations. We would need an apology and a complete 180 — donating to LGBTQ foundations to make an effort to reverse the damages they have already caused.
Of course, that’s not in the cards anytime soon. We’ve given Chick-fil-A a platform, and that isn’t going to quickly go away — at least not on a national level. Since the homophobic company was first exposed in 2012 — when Dan Cathy publicly condemned same-sex marriage — their sales have only gone up.
People are willing to criticize Chick-fil-A, but not give up its chicken. And unlike with fast fashion or other unethical products, people aren’t buying Chick-fil-A out of convenience or affordability. Plenty of other restaurants sell fried chicken, and at lower prices.
It’s an active choice to choose Chick-fil-A and it’s an active choice to support a homophobic company.
In 2012, former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino explicitly promised to never allow Chick-fil-A to set up shop in the city and even sent a letter to the company condemning their homophobic beliefs. But, clearly circumstances have changed. The City of Boston approves food trucks and has allowed Chick-fil-A to come on our campus.
“There is no place for discrimination on Boston’s Freedom Trail and no place for your company alongside it,” he wrote.
BU’s campus is also no place for discrimination.
It’s not impossible to stop eating at Chick-fil-A and BU students should think twice before buying a chicken sandwich from there.
UPDATE: It was misstated that BU grants permits to food trucks on campus and can decide which businesses serve on Commonwealth Avenue. That is the responsibility of the City of Boston. The article and headline have been updated to reflect these changes.