On some college campuses, students are agitated about the presence of Chick-fil-A, a purveyor of Southern-style chicken sandwiches that has run afoul of some proponents of same-sex marriage. But at a New York University cafeteria, the only place in the city where a craving for Chick-fil-A can be sated, the squawking has been limited.
Some N.Y.U. students have complained to the university’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Student Center, said John Beckman, a university spokesman. And a Facebook group Remove Chick-fil-A from NYU (and thus NYC!) is up and running.
But so far, the food court in Weinstein Hall continues to serve the chain’s fried-chicken nuggets, sandwiches and waffle fries, he said.
Elsewhere, gay-rights advocates have stoked opposition to Chick-fil-A since one of its outlets in Pennsylvania lent support to marriage seminars, scheduled for next week, that were arranged by a group that has been outspoken against same-sex marriage. At Indiana University’s campus in South Bend, a student group persuaded the university to ban Chick-fil-A products briefly. On Monday, that university’s chancellor invited Chick-fil-A to return to campus on Wednesday.
The president of Chick-fil-A, Dan Cathy, has said that the company was not endorsing the seminars, merely providing food at them.
At N.Y.U., JJ Bishop-Boros, a member and former officer of the university’s Queer Union, said the group had decided against pressing a boycott “that focuses only on Chick-fil-A and gay marriage.” Instead, he said, Queer Union hopes to meet with other campus groups to examine the practices of each food distributor on campus, from the wages they pay workers to environmental issues.
“If we only criticize Chick-fil-A, we’re almost justifying other businesses’ practices,” he said. “It would be hypocritical.”
In the dining hall, students who were lined up for Chick-fil-A food said they were unaware of the controversy.
“Chick-fil-A’s great, and it’s the only one in New York City, which makes it even cooler,” said Morgan Ingari, a sophomore, as she reached for a bag of waffle fries.
But behind her, J. P. Borum, a writing professor who was making her first foray to Chick-fil-A, reversed course after hearing about the flap. “I’m gay and Episcopal,” she said, opting instead for a salad from another station. She said she had “never heard a peep about this from students.”
At N.Y.U., the complaints have not been brought to the university senate for discussion, Mr. Beckman said. He said that the products of another Atlanta-based company, Coca-Cola, had been banned from campus for a few years after students protested against the company’s labor practices.
The station serving Chick-fil-A’s food has been a popular part of a food court in the dining hall on University Place in Manhattan since the fall of 2004, Mr. Beckman said. Chick-fil-A won out in a student taste test when the dining hall was being revamped by its operator, Aramark, he said.
Mr. Beckman said the food court was open only to students and others with university identification cards, but as food bloggers have written, this policy does not seem to be heavily enforced, and on some food-oriented Web sites like Yelp.com, outsiders have shared tales of their incursions spurred by serious cravings for fried chicken and pickles on a buttered bun.
“Thank God for this hidden treasure!” one reviewer wrote on Yelp. “Yes it’s in an N.Y.U. dining hall. But if you feel too weird eating with students you can get plastic bag and take it to Washington Square Park.”